Norway’s oil-heavy OBX index of 25 most-traded stocks dropped to a three-month low in Oslo as crude prices fell below $100 a barrel for the first time since July amid signs global economic growth may slow, curbing fuel demand.
The Oslo stock exchange’s OBX index fell as much as 1.1 percent to 422.48, the lowest intraday level since Jan. 15, and traded 0.7 percent lower as of 12:05 p.m. local time. That pares the index’s gain to 11 percent during the last 12 months.
“The oil price, one of the parameters that has supported the Oslo exchange, was flat during all of last year and has now fallen back after a small upturn,” Leif-Rune Rein, chief investment strategist for Norway at Nordea Bank Norge, a unit of Scandinavia’s largest bank. “The last quarterly reports were very, very mixed. Norwegian stocks aren’t cheap.”
Norway’s OBX index includes 12 companies involved in the production of oil and gas, subsea engineering groups or seismic surveyors. The index was led lower by DNO International ASA, which produces oil in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan, Aker Solutions ASA, a subsea engineer, and TGS Nopec Geophysical ASA, Norway’s largest surveyor of underwater oil and gas fields.
Statoil ASA, which makes up 21 percent of the OBX index in terms of weighting, fell as much as 1.1 percent to 133.7 kroner, the lowest intraday level since June 26, 2012, and traded 0.8 percent lower as of 12:05 p.m.
Brent futures slid as much as 2.6 percent to $98 a barrel, while WTI fell 3 percent to the lowest intraday price since Dec. 14. U.S. crude stockpiles probably rose 1.5 million barrels last week to 390.4 million, the highest since July 1990, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report tomorrow.
Nordea Markets expects the brent oil price to average $112 a barrel this year and $115 next year. “We’re not very positive towards the Oslo stock exchange versus other international bourses,” Rein said by phone from the Norwegian capital today.
“We don’t see any special drivers for the Oslo stock exchange,” he said. “We’re also expecting the krone will weaken a little from its record strong levels, so clearly if you invest abroad you’ll also get a currency benefit.”