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Plunging oil prices drag down Wall Street

Wall Street was lower at the open on Monday as Brent crude prices fell to their lowest in nearly seven years after OPEC's meeting ended last week without a reference to its output ceiling.

Wall Street was lower at the open on Monday as Brent crude prices fell to their lowest in nearly seven years after OPEC's meeting ended last week without a reference to its output ceiling.

Brent crude prices fell to $38.80, while a stronger dollar made it more expensive to hold crude positions. The dollar rose for a second day and was up 0.5 percent at 98.84 against a basket of major currencies.

Oil majors Exxon and Chevron fell about 3 percent and were the biggest drags on the Dow and the S&P.

A fall in oil prices erased earlier advances in stock futures that looked to build on Friday's gains after a strong jobs report last week.

The solid November employment report showed that the economy was strong enough to absorb an interest rate hike, which is widely expected to be raised when the Federal Reserve meets on Dec. 15-16.

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The report came a day after Fed Chair Janet Yellen struck an upbeat note on the economy when she testified before lawmakers, describing how it had largely met the criteria for a rate hike.

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