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US: Stocks end volatile quarter on positive note; oil prices slide

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Wall Street stocks finished a volatile quarter on a positive note on Monday, while oil prices slid amid reports that Saudi Arabia restored oil production more quickly than expected following attacks on infrastructure.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished a volatile quarter on a positive note on Monday, while oil prices slid amid reports that Saudi Arabia restored oil production more quickly than expected following attacks on infrastructure.

Analysts cited better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data, as well as comments from Trump administration officials that downplayed the likelihood of potential new US restrictions on Chinese investment.

US stocks had fallen Friday following reports the White House was weighing a plan to delist Chinese companies from US stock markets.

Investors are looking ahead to the resumption of talks between Beijing and Washington in October, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist of Prudential Financial.

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The talks are "clearly a positive for the markets because the effect it has on the world economy is paramount going into the last quarter," Mr Krosby said.

The broad-based S&P 500 finished at 2,976.74, up 0.5 per cent for the session and 1.2 per cent for the quarter.

The Dow also finished modestly higher for the third quarter, while the Nasdaq edged lower.

Bourses in Europe and Asia finished the day mixed.

Oil prices fell sharply following reports that Saudi Arabia had essentially restored its production following attacks on its oil infrastructure September 14 that initially led to a big spike in prices.

The retreat in prices also followed remarks by Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman on "60 Minutes" that endorsed a non-military solution for a longstanding conflict with Iran, which Saudi Arabia has blamed for the recent oilfield attacks.

The Saudi prince said a war would be catastrophic for global growth.

"Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven't seen in our lifetimes," the prince said.

"The region represents about 30 per cent of the world's energy supplies, about 20 per cent of global trade passages, about four per cent of the world GDP. Imagine all of these three things stop," he said.

"This means a total collapse of the global economy and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries."

Analysts said the drop in oil prices also reflected worries about slowing global growth.

A note from S&P said that while US recession risk has increased, it still views a recession as "unlikely" within the next 12 months.

But the grinding US-China trade conflict has weighed on growth.

"The stalemate in trade negotiations has also hurt business confidence among nonfinancial corporates, as evidenced by minimal capital expenditure growth and a contraction in manufacturing," said David Tesher, a managing director at S&P Global Ratings.

AFP