US Stocks Stumble as Oil Crash Continues to Weigh

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged over 250 points at the end of day trading as the price of oil continued to fall. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

US Stocks Stumble as Oil Crash Continues to Weigh

US stocks followed European markets lower Monday after another big drop in world oil prices.

NEW YORK — US stocks followed European markets lower Monday after another big drop in world oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 99.99 points (0.58%) to 17,180.84, down 105.64 points (0.61%).

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 12.70 (0.63%) to 1,989.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slid 48.44 (1.04%) to 4,605.16.

WTI and Brent crude oil prices sank to their lowest price in more than five and a half years on worries about excess supplies. The drop pushed London's FTSE 100 down 1.87%, while equity markets in France and Germany fell more than 2.5%.

"We seem to be hostage to the oil going down," said Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management.

Blicksilver was also cautious ahead of Wednesday's policy announcement by the US Federal Reserve. Fed watchers are looking for clues on when the central bank will raise rates in 2015.

"The Fed cannot say anything that the markets are going to love," he said.

Petro Stocks Fall

Most petroleum-linked stocks continued to falter, including Dow member Chevron (IW 500/2), down 1.5%; Occidental Petroleum (IW 500/48), down 1.4%; and Marathon Oil (IW 500/89), down 2.6%.

But Dow member ExxonMobil (IW 500/1) advanced 0.4% after BMO Capital Markets raised its rating to "market perform" on the US oil giant, reasoning that lower crude prices will negatively hit Exxon "to a lesser degree than most of its peers."

Banking stocks suffered deep losses. Dow member JPMorgan Chase lost 1.5%, Bank of America shed 1.6% and Citigroup lost 1.1%.

Biotech companies were another sector to decline. Amgen (IW 500/67) shed 3.0%, Celgene (IW 500/165) lost 2.3%, and Gilead Sciences (IW 500/101) dipped 0.9%.

Dow member Coca-Cola (IW 500/28) lost 0.8% as activist fund Wintergreen Advisors called for the ouster of chief executive Juhtar Kent.

Shares of pet supply chain PetSmart jumped 4.3% to $80.97 after announcing that BC Partners would take over the company in an $8.7 billion, $83.00 a share deal.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.12% from 2.10% Friday, while the 30-year dipped to 2.75% from 2.77%. Bond yields and prices move inversely.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

TAGS: Energy
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