US oil prices slide below $70 a barrel; mixed day for global stocks

US oil prices slide below $70 a barrel; mixed day for global stocks

NEW YORK — US oil prices finished below $70 a barrel for the first time since July on Thursday on a mixed day for global equities, as traders pondered hopes for interest rate cuts from the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve.

West Texas Intermediate oil for delivery in January fell 4.1 percent to finish at $69.38 a barrel. The drop came as markets eyed signs of weakening demand amid skepticism that the OPEC + coalition's efforts will meaningfully restrain supply.

Analysts have begun to consider the possibility that Saudi Arabia could abruptly decide to open the spigots, recalling a move by the kingdom in 2014 to counter rising US production.

"There's increasing fears that the Saudis will just let loose with supply. They have a lot of spare capacity now because of how much they've cut back production wise," said John Kilduff of Again Capital. "So it's another bearish factor for the market."

Frankfurt's DAX stocks index hit a fresh record high, passing the 16,600 level for the first time, and in Paris the CAC 40 rose as sliding German factory orders added to hopes of an interest-rate reduction from the European Central Bank (ECB).

"Risk-on sentiment is driving price action this