Dragged down by falling commodity prices, the Dow fell 71.52...

Dragged down by falling commodity prices, the Dow fell 71.52 points to close at 13,126.21 Wednesday despite a government report that orders for durable goods rose strongly last month, a sign that businesses continue to invest. (March 21, 2012) Credit: Bloomberg

Falling commodity prices punished materials and energy companies Wednesday, pushing Wall Street's major stock indexes to a lower close.

Crude oil lost $1.92 to $105.41 a barrel, hurting energy stocks. Peabody Energy fell 3.42 percent, Chevron 1.07 percent and Exxon 0.88 percent.

Materials fell the most among 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. fell 2.29 percent. The only stock in the Dow Jones industrial average that lost more was heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc., which dropped 3.52 percent.

All three major indexes lost about a half-percent. The Dow closed down 71.52 points at 13,126.21. The S&P 500 index lost 6.98 to 1,405.54. The Nasdaq composite index, heavy with technology stocks, fell 15.39 to 3,104.96.

One bright spot was the strong debut of Annie's Inc., a company that sells prepared organic foods. In its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Annie's leaped 89 percent to $35.92. The company, based in Berkeley, Calif., had priced its shares at $19 late Tuesday.

The broad declines came in spite of a government report that orders for durable goods rose strongly last month, a sign that businesses continue to invest.

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