Stocks continue to soften ahead of the Fed rate hike announcement. Retail and big pharma stocks were higher today while energy related companies were lower. At the close the Dow fell 44 points to 20,837. Trading volume was flatter than a pancake.
It looks like the OPEC oil production cuts could be in trouble in the face of rising US shale production. As prices have fallen below the $50 mark, voices of concern are starting to be heard both within and without OPEC. A spokesman for Russia’s oil giant Rosneft hinted they might not be willing to extend the production agreement in favor of letting the invisible hand of the market balance supply and demand. Iran said it will keep production cuts in place “IF” other parties to the agreement comply. Saudi Arabia warned US shale producers not to assume that production cuts will be extended. WTI closed the day off about 1.7% to $47.50 per barrel.
To see how much money certain OPEC members depend on, The King of Saudi Arabia is scheduled to take a month long trip to Asia for the first time in 46 years. He will be visiting Japan, China and other spots and in order to make the trip bearable he is bringing 10 aircraft complete with 2 golden escalators. While in Tokyo, news reports indicate the Saudi entourage will be renting 500 limos and has booked 1,200 high end hotel rooms. This trip might be good for Japan’s GDP figures.