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Sunday, 3 January 2016

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Fall in oil prices, a boon to consumers, bane to investors

While a fall in global oil prices to unprecedented levels last year was a blessing in disguise to consumers it dealt a severe blow to energy sector investors who incurred heavy losses on shares. The Wall Street ended its final day of 2015 down, marking its worst annual performance in seven years.

Oil prices suffered a second year of steep losses and are expected to take at least another year to clear as the international surplus continues. The Dow Jones was down 178.84 points or 1.03%, at 17,425.03.

The S&P 500 was down 0.95% at 2,043.86, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite was 1.15% lower at 5,007.41.

The oil price collapse sent global markets reeling throughout 2015.

Shares of US oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil were down 0.17% and 0.22% on December 31.

Energy stocks took a beating last year, with the S&P energy sector losing nearly 24% in the past twelve months.

For the year 2015, the S&P 500 was down 0.7% while the Dow Jones ended 2.2% lower. The Nasdaq, however, was a bright spot closing 5.7% higher for 2015. Trading volumes were thin on the last day of the year. Apple was down 1.92% weighing on the Nasdaq.

McDonald's was down 1.08% at $118 and weighed on the Dow the most.

Stocks were led lower as US jobless claims increased by 20,000 to 287,000 last week, wildly missing forecasts of 270,000.

Brent crude oil was up 3% at $37.60 per barrel for the day but down 35% over the year. US light crude was 1.2% higher at $37.04 but down 30% for 2015.

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