Stocks - U.S. Futures Fall After Oil Attacks in Middle East

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Stocks - U.S. Futures Fall After Oil Attacks in Middle East
Credit: © Reuters. - U.S. futures pointed to a weak opening bell on Monday as oil prices spiked to their highest level since May after drone strikes hit more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity over the weekend.

The attacks halted 5% of the world’s supply of oil, increasing tension between the U.S. and Iran as speculation remained over who authorized the attacks. The U.S. has blamed Iran, while the Islamic Republic denies involvement.

The jump in oil prices also increased fears for the global economy, as higher fuel prices put more pressure on slowing global growth.

Nasdaq 100 futures fell 48 points or 0.6% by 6:40 AM ET (10:40 GMT), while Dow futures lost 109 points or 0.4% and S&P 500 futures were down 11 points or 0.4%.

Crude oil prices surged 7.8% to $59.11 a barrel, not far from an earlier high of $61.20.

Oil and gas companies in the U.S. were higher, with shale producers - who had come under increasing pressure over the summer as the global oil market threatened to create a new glut - rising most.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) jumped 15.7%, while Apache (NYSE: APA ) rose 9.4%. Integrated majors posted less spectacular gains: Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM ) was up 3.5% and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) was up 3.2%, while Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDSa ) rose 2.8%.

Sentiment was also hit by weak economic data from China, as retail sales and fixed asset investment growth was short of expectations.

Bellwether Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) fell 0.3%, while JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM ) slumped 2% and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) was down 0.9%.

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM ) fell 3% as union members began a nationwide strike that is estimated to cost the automaker $50 million a day.

Gold futures were up 0.8% to $1,511.95 a troy ounce, while the U.S. dollar index , which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, gained 0.1% to 97.898.

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