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Stocks end lower after attack on Saudi oil processing facility

Traders John Doyle, left, and Richard Deviccaro work

Traders John Doyle, left, and Richard Deviccaro work on the floor of the NYSE on Sept. 4. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Airlines, cruise lines and other companies in fuel-dependent industries dragged U.S. stocks lower Monday after an attack on Saudi Arabia's biggest oil processing facility sent crude prices soaring.

The United States and international benchmarks for crude each vaulted more than 14 percent — that's comparable to the 14.5 percent spike in oil on Aug. 6, 1990, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 percent to break a streak of eight consecutive gains. The S&P 500, while down modestly, had its biggest decline in two weeks. American Airlines was the biggest decliner in the index.

Shares of oil producers jumped, while prices for Treasurys, gold and other investments rose.

The weekend attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia's global daily exports.

Still, analysts expressed doubts that the disruption in Saudi Arabia's oil production would have much of an impact on the U.S. economy, at least in the short term.

"From a global perspective, there's probably a concern," said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. "From a U.S. perspective, we produce more now than we used to, and our economy is less dependent on oil than it used to be."

The S&P 500 fell 9.43 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,997.96. That's the index's largest loss since Sept. 3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 142.70 points to 27,076.82. The Nasdaq lost 23.17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,153.54.

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