Stocks fell Monday as the price of oil slumped again, giving up some of the ground it gained late last week. That forced energy companies lower.
At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 208.3 points, about 1.3 percent, to 15,885.2. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 29.8 points, about 1.6 percent, to 1,877.1. The Nasdaq composite gave up 72.7 points, about 1.6 percent, to 4,518.5.
CRUDE ENERGY: The price of U.S. benchmark crude oil slid $2.44, about 7.6 percent, to $29.75 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. oil jumped 9 percent Friday after setting 12-year lows earlier in the week. In London, international benchmark Brent crude was down $2.04, about 6.4 percent, to $30.11 a barrel.
PETRO EQUITIES: Plunging oil prices have been decimating profits at energy companies and getting investors worried that the global economy is slowing down. Companies that mine metals, especially copper, face the same problem. Low oil prices are also hurting banking stocks because some banks hold large amounts of loans from energy companies, and investors fear they may not get paid back..
RALLY FADES: Friday was the best day for the S&P 500 since early December and the best day for the Nasdaq composite index since September. That helped stocks make their first weekly gain in the last four. This January has been one of the worst for the Dow and the S&P 500 in history. The Nasdaq composite is down almost 11 percent this month.
BUSINESS SURVEY: Business economists became more pessimistic about profits and sales than they were last fall and expect slower economic growth, according to a survey by the National Association of Business Economists. However, most of the survey participants said their companies plan to raise wages in the first quarter. That’s the largest proportion in more than a year.