Wall Street tumbled Wednesday as the price of a barrel of oil soared to a record near $124 and touched off concerns that the stock market's...
NEW YORK — Wall Street tumbled Wednesday as the price of a barrel of oil soared to a record near $124 and touched off concerns that the stock market’s recent gains might have been premature as consumers grapple with rising energy and food costs. The major stock-market indexes each lost more than 1.5 percent, with the Dow Jones industrial average declining by more than 200 points.
The Dow fell 206.48 to 12,814.35, after fluctuating early in the session.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, lost 49 cents to close at $29.21. Boeing, another Dow stock, was down $1.20 to end the day at $84.55.
Broader stock indicators also declined. The S&P 500 fell 25.69 to 1,392.57, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 44.82 to 2,438.49.
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Sharp gains in commodities prices have drawn fresh attention from investors worried that consumers — the lifeblood of the U.S. economy — will be forced to pare discretionary spending to keep up with increasing costs for necessities.
Oil prices have doubled over the past year, causing gasoline prices to surge further into record terrain and strap consumers, who drive more than two-thirds of economic activity, with another financial burden.
Light, sweet crude for June delivery hit a new trading record of $123.93 in after-hours activity after settling up $1.69 at a record close of $123.53 a barrel.
The dollar rebounded against other major global currencies, and gold prices fell.
While stocks pulled back, the day was not without good news. The Labor Department said labor costs rose at an annual rate of 2.2 percent during the first quarter. That’s down from a 2.8 percent rise the previous quarter, suggesting that inflation pressures may be letting up.