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US-UK BP Battle Scares Traders

The US-UK spat over BP is a serious topic of discussion among traders.

They are worried that this could get out of hand. They are worried that the meeting between the president and BP officials scheduled for next week will turn into another public humiliation of BP .

When you have the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, reminding the Obama administration that BP is an "economical important country in the UK, US and other countries," then you have a problem.

Just look at the dividend debate. If the perception develops that the US is attempting to dictate corporate cash flow decisions (a dividend payout) without due process — like they did with GM and Chrysler bondholders — we could see more nasty selling.

"That event could seriously alter the decision process for international companies dealing here," one trader said.

The larger worry: the political policy of each country develops a "protectionist" aspect in order to safeguard each individual state's interests. No one wants to see this happen.

Other Oil Majors Now:

Exxon Mobil

Chevron

ConocoPhilips

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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