Stocks open lower as oil prices renews slide

Stocks open lower as oil prices drop

U.S. stocks opened lower Wednesday, led by declines in energy stocks as the price of oil resumed its slide.

Oil dropped on reports that OPEC had slashed its estimate of how much crude it will need to produce next year due to rising supplies from other producers such as the U.S.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's fell 12 points, or 0.6%, to 2,046 as of 9:51 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 122 points, or 0.7%, to 17,681. The Nasdaq composite fell 19 points, or 0.4%, to 4,746.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down $1.63, or 2.6%, to $62.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of oil has plunged more than 40% from a peak of $107 a barrel in June as traders speculate that the supply of oil being pumped by the world's biggest producers exceeds demand.

FLYING HIGH: Airline stocks were among the gainers as the price of oil plunged. Southwest Airlines was the leading gainer in early trading. The stock rose $1.13, or 2.5%, to $41.76, taking its gain this year to 121%. Delta Air Lines also advanced, rising 55 cents, or 1.1%, to $46.81.

EUROPE'S DAY: European stocks rebounded on Wednesday after a sell-off a day earlier on concerns that Greece might have to hold early general elections and that a left-wing opposition party would win. The Syriza party wants to cut what Greece owes in bailout money, which could potentially derail the country's recovery.

France's CAC-40 gained 0.2% to 4,271 and Germany's DAX was up 0.6% at 9,857. Britain's FTSE 100 added almost 0.1% to 6,532.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Government bond prices were little changed. The yield on the benchmark U.S. Treasury note, which rises when prices fall, edged up to 2.22% from 2.21% on Tuesday.

The dollar fell to 119.01 yen from 119.40 late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.2394 from $1.2385.

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