Oil shares trounced as US, European stocks fall

New York (AFP) - US and European stocks tumbled Tuesday with petroleum-linked shares coming under pressure as BP and ExxonMobil reported weak earnings and oil prices fell again.

BP shares lost 8.7 percent after it suffered a loss of $6.48 billion (5.97 billion euros) last year and announced another 3,000 job cuts.

"We are moving rapidly down the path of resetting the company for a sustained period of lower oil prices," said BP chief executive Bob Dudley.

"We expect 2016 to be tough."

BP's American rival, ExxonMobil, managed to stay profitable, but reported a 58 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings to $2.8 billion. It announced plans to slash its capital budget and suspend its share repurchase program.

Shares of ExxonMobil fell 2.2 percent on a grim day for petroleum and commodity-oriented companies.

In Tokyo it was the same story: the Topix Energy Resources Index was down 3.5 percent and among major energy firms, oil explorer Inpex sank 4.9 percent, while Japan Petroleum Exploration fell 3.7 percent.

"We are back to the same old story today with materials and energy providing a drag on the FTSE as BP delivered what was frankly a terrible set of results," said analyst Brenda Kelly at traders London Capital Group.

Adding to the woes of petroleum stocks was another big drop in oil prices, with the US benchmark closing under $30 a barrel for the first time since January 21.

"It's all about oil today, there's no question about that," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

"It's a question of strength and weakness, and so weaker oil prices just means weaker economic activity."

London equities fell 2.3 percent, Paris 2.5 percent and Frankfurt 1.8 percent.

In the US, the broad-based S&P 500 finished down 1.9 percent.

Google parent Alphabet was a rare winner, gaining 1.7 percent to overtake Apple as the world's most valuable company after reporting a five percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings to $4.92 billion.

UBS shares fell more than 7.0 percent after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results in some key divisions, including wealth management and investment banking.

- Nikkei falls -

In Asia, most leading markets have run out of steam following last week's late surge after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly slashed some interest rates to negative territory to stimulate growth.

On Tuesday, the Nikkei slid 0.6 percent, while the yen climbed against the euro and the dollar.

"The feel-good factor created by the Bank of Japan's move to take interest rates into negative territory appears to be wearing off," said Russ Mould, investment director at trading firm AJ Bell.

An exception among Asian bourses was the benchmark Shanghai index, which rose 2.3 percent after the People's Bank of China pumped billions more dollars into financial markets before the week-long Lunar New Year break.

- Key figures around 2200 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 1.8 percent at 16,153.54 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 1.9 percent at 1,903.03 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 2.2 percent at 4,516.95 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 2.3 percent at 5,922.01 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.8 percent at 9,581.04 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 2.5 percent at 4,283.99 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 2.5 percent at 2,951.85 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 17,750.68 (close)

Sydney - S&P/ASX 200: DOWN 1.0 percent at 4,993.30 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 19,446.84 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.3 percent at 2,749.27 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0917 from $1.0893 Monday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 120.01 yen from 120.96 yen

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