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Global stocks hit by gloom on Wall Street, lower oil prices

Global stock markets fell on Wednesday after some disappointing earnings reports and as a drop in oil prices dragged down shares in energy companies.

KEEPING SCORE: The FTSE 100 of Britain dropped 1 percent to 6,949 while Germany’s DAX fell 1 percent as well, to 10,649. The CAC 40 in France lost 0.8 percent to 4,506. Dow and S&P futures both were down 0.4 percent, auguring another dismal start for New York markets.

US CONSUMER: A drop in a consumer confidence index and disappointing third-quarter earnings from big name companies raised worries over consumer spending, a critical driver of U.S. growth. Sherwin-Williams had its worst day in seven years, losing 10.9 percent, while Whirlpool plunged 10.8 percent. Athletic wear maker Under Armour’s shares sank 13.2 percent, its biggest drop in almost eight years. Apple reported lower quarterly sales, though Comcast and Coc-Cola’s reports were more upbeat on Wednesday.

LOOKING AHEAD: Investors will also keep an eye on U.S. new home sales and a survey of the U.S. services sector. A pick-up could consolidate expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as December.

OIL PRICES: Crude prices were down after the American Petroleum Institute reported a much larger than expected buildup in U.S. crude inventories. Benchmark U.S. oil was down 74 cents to $49.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 56 cents on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 73 cents to $50.06 a barrel after falling 67 cents the day before.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.2 percent higher to 17,391.84, but most other regional benchmarks fell. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1 percent to 23,325.43 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.5 percent to 5,359.80. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.1 percent to 2,013.89 and India’s Sensex lost 0.8 percent to 27,857.85. Markets in Southeast Asia and Taiwan also were mostly lower.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 104.23 yen from 104.12 yen. The euro rose to $1.0921 from $1.0879.

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