U.S. stocks opened lower Friday as the rout in oil continues and a report indicated that growth in China, the world's second-largest economy, continues to slow.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell eight points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,027 as of 9:49 a.m. on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,529. The Nasdaq composite fell nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,699.
OIL ROUT: Falling oil prices weighed on the stock market again. Oil slumped after the International Energy Agency said global oil demand in 2015 will grow by 900,000 barrels a day, 230,000 less than previously forecast, to 93.3 million.
U.S. benchmark oil slipped $1.37, or 2.5 percent, to $58.52 a barrel. Brent, the international standard, was down $1.20, or 1.8 percent, at $62.46.
Energy stocks in the S&P 500 index fell 1.4 percent, taking their loss for the year to 15.9 percent.
RIPPLE EFFECTS: While the plunge in oil prices is good for consumers because it lowers prices at the gas pump, the slump is hitting energy companies hard. If low prices persist, some U.S. oil producers could go out of business as the cost of extracting oil exceeds its market price.
The IEA also warned that oil-producing economies would be hit hard.
"The adverse impact of the oil price rout on oil-exporting economies looks likely to offset, if not exceed, the stimulus it could provide for oil-importing countries against a backdrop of weak economic growth and low inflation," the IEA said.
CHINA DATA: China was a source of concern after figures showed factory output growth declined to 7.2 percent in November from 7.7 percent growth in October. The data came after Chinese leaders at an annual planning meeting affirmed their commitment to the "new normal" of slower growth as they try to steer China toward a more sustainable expansion based on domestic consumption.
EUROPE'S DAY: Britain's FTSE 100 sank 1.4 percent to 6,372, while Germany's DAX fell 1.5 percent to 9,710.
France's CAC 40 declined 1.4 percent to 4,156.
A FISHY TALE: SeaWorld Entertainment rose after the company said Thursday that its CEO is stepping down.
Attendance at its theme parks has been weak since the recession and has dropped in three of the past four quarters.
SeaWorld has also been battling negative publicity since the release of "Blackfish" last year, a documentary that suggested its treatment of animals may have led to the death of trainers.
The company's stock gained 49 cents, or 3 percent, to $16.57.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Government bond prices rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which falls when prices rise, dropped to 2.14 percent from 2.17 percent Thursday.
The dollar fell. The U.S. currency dropped to 0.3 percent to 118.64 yen and the euro rose 0.5 percent against the dollar to $1.2465.