Copper and oil slide, world equities dip

Copper and oil slide, world equities dip

NEW YORK - Copper futures dropped on Friday on concerns over Chinese growth and as the US dollar strengthened, while crude oil extended recent losses and a global gauge of equities drifted lower.

Stocks were little changed on Wall Street, with low volume due in part to a snowstorm that blanketed the US Northeast -including financial hubs New York and Boston.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the US central bank is committed to highly accommodative policy even after deciding last month to trim its bond-buying stimulus.

European shares rose, bucking a wave of risk aversion that swept across Asia, where stocks slid after a measure of activity in China's services sector slipped in December to a four-month low.

At the closing bell in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 28.64 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 16,469.99. The S&P 500 dipped 0.62 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 1,831.36. The Nasdaq Composite fell 11.16 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 4,131.91.

The benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.5 per cent, and MSCI's index of equities in 45 countries was down 0.16 per cent.

Three-month copper dropped 1.1 per cent to $7,315 (4,456.02 pounds) a tonne in its largest daily drop since December 2.

"Chinese worries are playing into recent commodity weakness," said Jim Russell, senior equities strategist at US Bank Wealth Management. "There is concern on the outlook for 2014, many think it will represent a step down in growth rate in China as compared to recent years."

He said strength in the US dollar was also weighing on parts of the commodities complex, including oil.

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