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Oil stocks slip, but do better than wider markets

Oil-related stocks dropped on Wednesday, following a big drop in crude prices the day before and as U.S. equity markets traded lower on new worries about Europe.

Oil
Vincent Kessler | Reuters

However, the S&P 500 Energy Sector was down a little less than the broader S&P 500 Index on Wednesday.

"There's some hopeful analysis out there that the action we saw yesterday and overnight for crude might have been a bottom," said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, who added that oil shares "have just gotten hammered over the last several sessions, if not longer. There might be some bottom-fishing going on."

U.S.-priced oil and internationally priced Brent crude were both slightly higher Wednesday.

In New York trading, oil majors Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP were all lower. Some energy-related shares, such as pipeline company Kinder Morgan, managed to stay above even, but most other services stocks were down.

In Europe, worries over acquisition deals pushed shares lower. The Euro Stoxx 600 Index was lower with Shire the major laggard with a drop of 24 percent. U.S. pharma firm AbbVie announced it is reconsidering a $54 billion takeover of the U.K.-listed drugmaker due to a change in tax rules in the United States.

The International Energy Agency spooked oil markets on Tuesday by slashing its forecasts for world demand for this year and next; crude prices responded with their biggest drop in more than three years. Also on Tuesday, Brent crude touched a 47-month low before coming back to around $84 a barrel.