GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil prices spike on Iraq anxiety, stocks dip

Reuters - UK Focus

* Brent at 3-mo high, U.S. crude hits highest sinceSeptember

* Kiwi jumps the most in four months after rate hike

* U.S. shares dip after data, but energy stocks up (Updates prices, adds U.S. market open, fresh comment, changesdateline from LONDON)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , June 12 (Reuters) - Crude oil prices spiked onThursday on worries over supply as violence escalated in Iraq,while a worldwide equities gauge edged down after Wall Streetopened lower.

Crude jumped after Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of thenorthern oil city of Kirkuk, in the face of a triumphant SunniIslamist rebel march towards Baghdad that threatens Iraq'sfuture as a unified state.

Brent crude futures rose the most in more than threemonths to a high of $112.34 a barrel, the highest since earlyMarch. U.S. crude added 1.7 percent to its highest sinceSeptember. Prices could rise further as events unfold in Iraq.

"There are no immediate oil export implications in as muchas the latest news is about Kirkuk ... and that has a limitedimpact because the northern pipeline has been down for monthsalready," said Gareth Lewis-Davies, a strategist at BNP Paribas (Milan: BNP.MI - news) .

"This is more about uncertainty as it calls into questionthe ability of the central Baghdad government to keep control,"he said. "The big fear is if they get south of Baghdad ... butthere is no immediate indication that this will happen."

On Wall Street, stocks opened lower after U.S. retail salesrose less than expected in May and first-time applications forunemployment benefits increased last week.

The decline was partly offset by higher prices in energystocks on the heels of the spike in oil prices.

The crude spike "is a significant move but not enough toimpact economic growth here in the U.S., at least not yet," saidPhil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at FederatedInvestors in New York.

"We're going to have to go a lot higher than $106 (onWTI)for that to bite."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.83 points or0.27 percent, to 16,799.05, the S&P 500 lost 5.93 pointsor 0.31 percent, to 1,937.96 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.73 points or 0.34 percent, to 4,317.21.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shareswas flat, not far from the 6-1/2 year high of 1,398.65 peak hitearlier this week. MSCI (NYSE: MSCI - news) 's global stocks gauge fell 0.1 percent.

The New Zealand dollar jumped the most in four months to hitits highest since mid May after the central bank raised interestrates and kept a hawkish bias. The kiwi surged1.6 percent to $0.8680.

The euro hit a low of $1.3510 against the U.S.dollar, near the low of $1.3503 hit on Thursday after theEuropean Central Bank cut rates, before rebounding on theweaker-than-expected U.S. data. The euro is, however, set topost its fifth week of losses versus the dollar in the last six.

In fixed income, U.S. Treasuries edged up marginally inprice after the soft data, though the generally upbeat view onthe U.S. economy remains. Markets continue to look forward to aFederal Reserve meeting next week. Fed Chair Janet Yellen isexpected to be pressured on the timeline for rate hikes in apress conference on Wednesday.

"The numbers won't change the outlook for the Fed meetingnext week. It's not a big enough of a miss," said Stanley Sun,interest rate strategist, at Nomura Securities in New York.

U.S. 10-year notes were up 2/32 in price toyield 2.633 percent, from 2.641 percent late on Wednesday.Yields hit session lows of 2.624 percent after the U.S. data.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by GertrudeChavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Lin Noueihed in London)

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