GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slide, oil prices jump after Yemen air strikes

jueves 26 de marzo de 2015 13:47 GYT

(Adds European closings, updates prices)
    * Stocks fall in America, Europe and Asia
    * Oil rises on fears of Middle East supply disruption over
    * Gold tops $1,200 an ounce

    By Michael Connor
    NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - Stock markets worldwide were
knocked lower and oil prices jumped on Thursday after Saudi
Arabia and its allies carried out air strikes in Yemen that
fueled worries Middle East energy shipments may be put at risk,
although Wall Street later recovered.
    Brent oil was last at $59.32 a barrel, up 5 percent
but off a session high of $59.78. U.S. crude was up 4.5
percent at $51.41 a barrel after reaching $52.48. 
    Key stock indexes on Wall Street, where prices fell this
week on fears U.S. economic growth may be slowing, were down as
much as 1 percent before trimming losses to be just below flat.
    The MSCI world equity index, however, which
tracks shares in 45 countries, was last off 0.7 percent.
    "The air strikes in Yemen have really created a risk-off
mood," said Rabobank strategist Philip Marey. 
    In currency markets, the dollar fell against traditional
safe havens the Swiss franc and the yen after warplanes from
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries struck Shi'ite Muslim
rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president. 
    The dollar later recovered against the franc and was
last up 0.3 percent at 0.9619 franc. The dollar was last at
119.28 yen, off 0.18 percent.
    The dollar was down earlier against the euro but
recovered in New York trading on the view central bank policy
was more favorable for the U.S. currency. The euro was off 0.65
percent at $1.0895.
    Iran denounced the attacks as the Saudi military also
targeted Iran-backed Houthi rebels besieging the southern Yemen
city of Aden. Arab producers ship oil via the narrow Gulf of
Aden and the prospect of bigger Middle East conflict sparked
fears of a disruption of crude supplies.
    A vertiginous slide in oil prices from more than $115 a
barrel last June to a low of $45 in January has been a major
driver of financial markets in the past year and a key factor
driving global interest rates down and stock markets up.    
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down
0.8 percent. In Germany, a major industrial economy heavily
dependent on oil imports, the DAX index ended off 0.2
    Wall Street's Dow Jones industrial average was last
down 12.42 points, or 0.07 percent, to 17,706.12, the S&P 500
 lost 0.13 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,060.92 and the
Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.85 points, or 0.06 percent,
to 4,873.68.

    Gold rose, climbing roughly 1 percent to $1,206 an ounce
, supported by the weak dollar and Middle East tensions.
    Prices of U.S. Treasuries, often a safe haven for fretful
investors, dipped on Thursday as the government held a sale of
$29 billion of Treasury notes. The benchmark 10-year note
 was off 20/32 and yielding 1.99 percent.

 (Additional reporting by Marc Jones and Nigel Stephenson in
London,; Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo, Henning Gloystein in
Singapore and  Alistair Smout, John Geddie and Patrick Graham in
London; Editing by John Stonestreet, Susan Fenton and James