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Global stocks retreat as oil prices slide

Oil prices have tumbled after the International Energy Agency cut its forecast for demand

Global stock markets dropped on Wednesday as sliding oil prices and US tax doubts prompted investors to lower their risk exposure, traders said.

Equity markets in Frankfurt, London and Paris all fell. Wall Street also retreated, with the broad-based S&P 500 shedding 0.6 percent.

"European stock markets are lower again as the world-wide decline in equities rumbles on," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

But, he noted, "The single currency has had a good run in the past two days on account of the solid growth numbers from Germany yesterday, and the firmer inflation report from France today."

The euro built on gains won Tuesday in response to the better-than-expected German growth figures -- breaking above $1.18 to hit a near one-month high.

The pound steadied in the wake of better-than-expected UK wage growth, traders said, but remains weak on uncertainty about the political future of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May as her government struggles on with Brexit talks.

Meanwhile, oil extended its declines after a US inventory report showed an increase in American petroleum production, deepening concerns about a supply glut.

Other commodity prices, including those of metals, followed suit, leading mining stocks lower, weighed down by concerns about a slowdown in China.

"The latest, industrial production, fixed asset investment, retail sales and housing sales out of China point to an economy that is cooling," Madden said.

In London, Glencore and BHP Billiton ended the day down more than two percent, while in Rio Tinto shed around 1.1 percent.

In the US, oil-linked shares ExxonMobil and Halliburton lost 1.2 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Wall Street analysts expressed concern that an increasingly complex Capitol Hill debate on tax cuts could delay or derail the long-anticipated measure. The most recent idea in the Senate is to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate as part of the plan.

"I don't think they will get anything before 2018. There are too many differences between the proposals," said Karl Haeling of LBBW, referring to the House and Senate versions of the legislation.

- Key figures around 2150 GMT -

New York - DOW: DOWN 0.6 percent at 23,271.28 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,564.62 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5 percent at 6,706.21 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,372.61 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 12,963.09 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 5,301.25 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,549.55

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.6 percent at 22,028.32 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.0 percent at 28,851.69 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 3,402.52 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1800 from $1.1792 at 2145 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.85 yen from 113.43 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3168 from $1.3166

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 34 cents at $61.87 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 37 cents at $55.33 per barrel

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