Oil slides toward $92 per barrel
The price of oil was heading down toward $92 a barrel Thursday, near six-month lows, after U.S. crude stockpiles rose for a 10th-consecutive week.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down 16 cents at $92.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, having dropped $1.38 Wednesday. Floor trading on the Nymex was closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, resulting in low trading volumes.
Oil has declined from about $110 in September due to reduced tensions in the oil-rich Middle East but above all to muted demand and high supplies.
Pope seeks closer look at finances
Pope Francis on Thursday named his top assistant to look into the work of two commissions of inquiry he set up last summer to investigate the finances of the troubled Vatican bank and Holy See administration.
A Vatican statement said papal secretary Monsignor Alfred Xuereb will be Francis’ delegate, “keeping his eye on the committees and keeping him informed in collaboration with the secretariat of state on their working procedures and possible initiatives.”
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the aim was purely to smooth communication between the pope and the commissions as they intensify their work ahead of meetings between the pope and his eight cardinal advisers.
EU leaves door open for Ukraine deal
With Russia warily looking on, European Union leaders Thursday implored Ukraine to sign a landmark association agreement and reverse the geopolitical defeat they suffered last week when the former Soviet republic sought closer ties with Moscow instead of Brussels.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych shocked the 28-country bloc by freezing the long-negotiated deal days before it was due to be signed. EU leaders continued to express guarded optimism for the future even as the first day of a two-day EU summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, appeared to end on a low note for the bloc’s effort to change his mind.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said there was no chance to sign the deal after unsuccessful talks with leading EU officials.
Nikkei is standout
Japan’s stock index was the standout performer Thursday, surging to its highest level in almost six years as the yen fell amid speculation that the country’s monetary policy will be eased further.
On a day when trading levels are low because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., the Nikkei 225 helped shore up markets around the world, as it advanced 1.8 percent to 15,727.12, its highest close since late 2007.
The benchmark’s surge has been driven by the Japanese currency’s slump to its lowest in half a year.
Vindicator wire reports
Selected local stocks
Aqua America, .61, 24.17 —.01
Clear Channel, .61 24.12 .34
Cortland Bancorp, 9.75—.05
Farmers Nat., .126.30 0
First Energy, 2.20, 32.49—.46
FirstMerit Corp., .64,23.06 —.06
First Niles Financial, .32,6.500
First Place Fin., .000
FNB Corp., .48,12.63—.02
General Electric, .76,26.85.06
Huntington Bank, .20, 9.23.1
JP Morgan Chase, 1.52,57.51.34
Key Corp, .22,12.87—.01
LaFarge, 17.75 —.07
Macy’s, 1.00, 53.59.65
Parker Hannifin, 1.80, 118.33.55
RTI Intl. Metals,35.58.39
Simon Prop. Grp.,4.60,151.831.7
Stoneridge 12.58 .15
United Community Fin. 3.77.02
Selected prices at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Provided by Stifel. Not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security.