World stocks slide on China's weakening economic outlook and oil worries

A Pakistani stockbroker monitors share prices during trading at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE).
A Pakistani stockbroker monitors share prices during trading at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE). PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - World stocks fell on Monday as a weakening economic outlook for powerhouse China and renewed falls in the oil price prompted a sell-off.

Turnover was muted, however, with many operators still on end-year breaks and the key London exchange closed for a bank holiday.

Wall Street fell on Monday, hurt by the steep drop oil prices as well as a dip in Apple shares, pushing the S&P 500 back into negative territory for 2015.

But Disney shares jumped on record ticket sales for Star Wars and Amazon gained on higher holiday subscriptions in New York.

Also in New York, the oil price dropped below US$37, with WTI February oil futures down 3.7 percent at US$36.68 and Brent Crude down 3.3 per cent at US$36.64.

The Russian ruble hit a 2015 low amid oil woes on Monday, and even top exporter Saudi Arabia is feeling the pinch, projecting an US$87 billion deficit for 2016, its third annual shortfall in a row.

European oil stocks and some industrials came under pressure from the twin impact of weak oil prices and ominous slowdown signs from Asia.

In Paris, the CAC 40 extended opening losses to close 1.0 percent lower, while Frankfurt's DAX was off 0.7 percent at the close.

US and European markets had refrained from major swings in their final sessions Thursday before the festive break, avoiding fireworks after heavy volatility in the preceding days.

"The between-the-holidays period has never been much of one for big movements in the financial markets," said Barclays Bourse analyst Philippe Cohen.

In Asia, markets broadly fell as a decline in profits at China's industrial firms reignited worries about the world's number two economy, but bargain-buying helped Tokyo snap a five-day losing streak.

Industrial profits slid 1.4 per cent to 672.1 billion yuan (S$145.95 billion) in November, according to data released on Sunday by China's National Bureau of Statistics.

"We see weakness across industries, with few signs of improvement," Steve Wang, chief China economist at Reorient Financial Markets in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

The fresh figures weighed on mainland markets with Shanghai down 2.59 per cent and Shenzhen off 2.18 percent by the close.

Shares in China Telecom dropped as much as three percent after news its head was under investigation for "severe disciplinary violations", the latest high-profile target in a corruption crackdown.

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 per cent at 10,653.91 (close) Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.0 per cent at 4,617.95 (close) EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.8 per cent at 3,257.55 New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 per cent from Thursday at 17,471.12. Closed Friday for Christmas.

London - Closed for a public holiday.

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.0977 from US$1.0965 Friday in Tokyo Dollar/yen: UP to 120.30 yen from 120.19 yen Friday in Tokyo Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.56 per cent at 18,873.35 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.99 per cent at 21,919.62 (close).