The latest downturn in crude oil prices put investors in a selling mood Wednesday, pulling U.S. stocks lower for the second time this week.
The market decline, which wiped out some of the gains from a rally the day before, came on lighter-than-usual trading ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday.
Energy companies fell the most among the 10 sectors in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, 1.5 percent. The sector is down 23.8 percent for the year. Southwestern Energy fell 6.8 percent, while Consol Energy sank 5.6 percent.
The price of oil shed 3.4 percent on Wednesday, extending its losses for the year to nearly 40 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 117.11 points to 17,603.87. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.72 percent to 2,063.36. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.82 percent to end at 5,065.85
The day’s market action cut into the S&P 500’s slim gain for the year. The index remains essentially flat with an increase of 0.2 percent this year. The Nasdaq is up about 7 percent, while the Dow is on track to end 2015 with a loss of 1.2 percent.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.27 to close at $36.60 a barrel in New York. It’s down 39 percent this year. Brent crude slid 3.5 percent to close at $36.46 a barrel in London. — AP