7 de diciembre de 2015 / 14:56 / en 2 años

US STOCKS-Plunging oil prices drag down Wall Street

* Brent crude near 7-year lows after OPEC’s meeting last week

* Atlanta Fed’s Lockhart says market prepared for a hike - CNBC

* Keurig soars on $13.9 bln buyout offer

* Chipotle falls after sales warning

* Indexes down: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.38 pct, Nasdaq 0.16 pct (Updates to open)

By Tanya Agrawal

Dec 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street was lower at the open on Monday as Brent crude prices fell to their lowest in nearly seven years after OPEC’s meeting ended last week without a reference to its output ceiling.

Brent crude prices fell to $38.80, while a stronger dollar made it more expensive to hold crude positions. The dollar rose for a second day and was up 0.5 percent at 98.84 against a basket of major currencies.

Oil majors Exxon and Chevron fell about 3 percent and were the biggest drags on the Dow and the S&P.

A fall in oil prices erased earlier advances in stock futures that looked to build on Friday’s gains after a strong jobs report last week.

The solid November employment report showed that the economy was strong enough to absorb an interest rate hike, which is widely expected to be raised when the Federal Reserve meets on Dec. 15-16.

The report came a day after Fed Chair Janet Yellen struck an upbeat note on the economy when she testified before lawmakers, describing how it had largely met the criteria for a rate hike.

“At this moment, a rate hike is a foregone conclusion and if the Fed misses the opportunity to raise again next week, it will reintroduce uncertainties in the market,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

However, Cardillo said falling oil prices could cap gains in the market as investors resort to profit taking.

At 9:37 a.m. ET (1437 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 59.36 points, or 0.33 percent, at 17,788.27, the S&P 500 was down 7.93 points, or 0.38 percent, at 2,083.76 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 8.31 points, or 0.16 percent, at 5,133.96.

Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower with the energy index’s 2.51 percent loss leading the decliners.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told CNBC in an interview on Monday that the economic conditions are satisfactory and the market is well-prepared for a hike.

Lockhart is a voting member of the central bank’s policy setting committee.

Traders see a 79 percent chance that the central bank will increase rates for the first time in nearly a decade, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard is scheduled to speak on the U.S. economy at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Keurig Green Mountain’s shares soared 74 percent to $89.96 after the coffee-pod maker agreed to be bought for about $13.9 billion.

Chipotle Mexican Grill fell 6.1 percent to $526.14, after the popular burrito chain warned that sales at established restaurants would fall in the fourth quarter due to the impact of an E. coli outbreak.

Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack were up 3.7 percent at $16.27 after billionaire investor Carl Icahn reported on Friday that he now owns 12.12 percent of the auto parts company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,164 to 544. On the Nasdaq, 1,695 issues fell and 628 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 8 new 52-week highs and 17 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 63 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

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