Stocks ended sharply lower Friday after escalating worries about the financial and automotive sectors and rebounding oil prices. The major indexes all...
NEW YORK — Stocks ended sharply lower Friday after escalating worries about the financial and automotive sectors and rebounding oil prices. The major indexes all logged declines of more than 1.5 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average ended below the 12,000 mark for the first time since mid-March, when the market was worried about Bear Stearns collapsing.
The Dow slumped 220.40 to 11,842.69. The blue chips haven’t closed below 12,000 since March 17.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, slipped 70 cents to close at $28.23. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell $1.12 to $75.83.
Broader stock indicators also dropped Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 24.90 to 1,317.93, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 55.97 to 2,406.09. For the week, the Dow fell 3.8 percent, the S&P 500 lost 3.1 percent and the Nasdaq declined 2 percent.
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While investors have seen other triple-digit declines in the past year since concerns about the economy began emerging, the blue chips’ finish under 12,000 could give investors a psychological blow.
Rumors added to the market’s anxiety, which ballooned Thursday when Citigroup warned of big debt markdowns, Washington Mutual announced 1,200 job cuts, and Moody’s Investors Service decided late in the day to downgrade the two biggest bond insurers.
Troubling news about the financial sector has been piling up all week, driving the stock market back toward the levels it plummeted to in March.
“There has to be reticence about getting back in,” said Stephen Carl, principal and head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group. “It’s definitely an ugly end to the week.”
As the economy faces a tight lending climate, it also struggles with surging fuel costs. Crude-oil futures jumped $2.69 to settle at $134.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, recovering some of Thursday’s drop of nearly $5 a barrel on news of a fuel-price increase in China.