US STOCKS-Wall St set to open lower as rouble and oil sink
* Futures down: Dow 41 pts, S&P 8 pts, Nasdaq 25 pts (Updates prices, adds data)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK Dec 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to fall at the open on Tuesday as a further slide in crude oil prices and the Russian rouble sent traders fleeing from risky assets on global economic concerns.
Futures crumbled in early trading as the rouble neared 80 per U.S. dollar, then slightly pared losses. The rouble was recently down about 11 percent on the session, near 73 per dollar.
The rouble's decline came even as Moscow's central bank hiked its main interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent. Russia's MICEX stock index was up 1.5 percent after earlier falling as much as 8.5 percent.
Brent crude lost more than 3 percent to $58.98 per barrel after hitting a low of $58.50, and U.S. crude was down almost 4 percent at $53.75, near its session low.
Adding to global concerns, data showed factory activity shrinking in China and euro zone business growth remaining weak.
"The market is reflecting a global macro concern more than anything," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
"The trigger point is commodities, in this case oil, in a free fall, forcing people to completely avoid stocks. Until we get some stabilization in energy prices I think we're going to continue to see that trade." Continuación...