Concerns over the growing turmoil in Washington D.C. and a worsening world economy led U.S. crude oil prices plunge nearly 7% on Monday. Falling in tandem with the equities market, oil prices hit their lowest levels in nearly 18 months to trade at $42.53/bbl.
Despite the production deal struck earlier in December between the OPEC and Russia, investors are increasingly seeking shelter in apparently safe-haven assets such as gold and government debt at the cost of risker ones like oil and stocks. This negative sentiment has resulted into U.S. crude falling from its peak of 52-week high reached at the start of October to nearly 18-month low, after falling nearly 45%.
U.S. crude futures ended Monday's session at $42.53 after falling 6.7% or $3.06, its lowest closing price since June 2017 and close to 2017’s lowest level of $42.05. While Brent crude futures hit their 16-month low after falling nearly 6.2% or $3.35 to end the day at $50.47 a barrel.
Owing to this plunge, the downward slide for energy stocks has ranged between -2% to -12.5%. Some of the major losers included names like Hess Corporation (HES, -12.2%), Chevron Corporation (CVX, -3.1%), ConocoPhillips (COP, -4.7%), EOG Resources Inc. (EOG, -5%) and Continental Resources Inc. (CLR, -5.7%) among others.