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US: Stocks waver on oil retreat, protectionism fears

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dipped early Monday before edging higher with worries about trade protectionism pressuring global markets, while petroleum-linked equities fell on the latest drop in oil prices.

Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron were among the equities in retreat as US oil prices slipped further below US$50 a barrel on worries about excess supply in the US market.

Analysts also cited uncertainty about a range of US policy debates in Washington and unease after G20 ministers backed away from a long-standing commitment to avoid trade protectionism.

About 90 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,950, up 0.18 per cent. The broad-based S&P 500 was flat at 2,377, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.15 per cent at 5,910.

Market voices on:

European markets retreated, a decline attributed to the G20 shift, which followed the Trump administration's stance at a meeting the group's finance ministers and central bank governors in Germany.

"We see a continuation of the gradual rise in protectionism in recent years and for globalization to stall, but we see a major rise in protectionism - including the risk of trade wars - as one of the main risks to the global outlook," said Citi analyst Ebrahim Rahbari.