OIL PLUNGES TO 7-YEAR LOW: Here's what you need to know

Stocks closed higher for the first time this week, while crude oil slipped to a new seven-year low.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,586.60, +94.30, (0.54%)
  • S&P 500: 2,052.92, +5.30, (0.26%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,043.91, +21.04, (0.42%)

And now, the top stories on Thursday:

  1. OPEC pumped the most oil in three years last month. The cartel’s monthly oil market report, published Thursday, showed that it pumped about 32 million barrels of oil per day in November, surpassing the record it hit just a few months prior. This is the latest confirmation that OPEC is resolute in its fight to maintain market share and try and squeeze smaller competitors out of the market. Global oil supply also rose in November, to nearly 96 million barrels per day.
  2. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell to a new seven-year low in volatile trading. In New York, WTI fell to as low as $36.55 per barrel.
  3. Men’s Wearhouse shares fell by as much as 23%, after the retailer revealed that it is booking a $90.1 million charge for its failed investment in Jos. A. Bank. It said comparable-store sales were down 35.1% quarter-to-date through last week. It reported a third-quarter net loss of $27.15 million, or $0.56 per share. Men’s Wearhouse CEO Doug Ewert said in a statement that the company knew it would have to adjust Jos. A. Bank’s aggressive promotions model, but underestimated how these changes would impact it in the near term.
  4. Chipotle CEO Steve Ells apologised on national TV following the E. coli investigation linked to the restaurant chain. On the “Today” show, Ells said they’re taking steps to make sure Chipotle becomes the safest place to eat. As many as 120 Boston College students and others close by fell ill with norovirus, an intense stomach bug, after the ate at Chipotle.
  5. In economic data, initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week, by 13,000 to 282,000. Economists had estimated a print of 270,000, little changed from last week. HSBC economists cautioned clients to account for the seasonal impact of the holiday period.
  6. The US budget deficit expanded to $65 billion in November, up 14% year-on-year. Analysts had expected a $68 billion deficit, according to Reuters.

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