Shares of energy companies fell as oil prices continued to fall in the face of oversupply concerns. U.S.-traded oil futures slipped for the sixth straight session, closing down 4 cents at $69.34 a barrel.

The SPDR Select Sector Energy exchange-traded fund, which tracks the energy industry group of the S&P 500, is now down by 3.6% for the year to date.

The two largest Australian energy companies by market capitalization, Woodside Energy and Santos, said they were discussing a merger that could result in a new global giant worth around $52 billion, as the southern hemisphere nation vies with Qatar to become the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The fight to capture the Southern Gaza city of Khan Younis risks putting Israel on a collision course with the Biden administration, which has called on Israel to minimize civilian casualties and ease humanitarian deprivation in Gaza.

Write to Rob Curran at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

12-07-23 1726ET