Plunging Oil Prices and Blizzard Push Markets Down

Plunging Oil Prices and Blizzard Push Markets Down

US stocks fell today as oil prices dropped sharply to their lowest since November, and airlines pulled industrial stocks down as a blizzard hit the US Northeast.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 44.11 points, or 0.21 percent, to 20,837.37, the S&P 500 lost 8.02 points, or 0.34 percent, to 2,365.45 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.97 points, or 0.32 percent, to 5,856.82. About 6.23 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, compared with the 6.93 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. 

Trading volume was light ahead of a Federal Reserve statement due on Wednesday in which the US central bank is expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points.

US stocks slumped as crude tumbled past $48 a barrel after Saudi Arabia disclosed an increase in production, while the dollar advanced as investors gear up for Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision. Oil prices slid to the lowest since late November after OPEC reported a rise in global crude inventories and raised its forecast of production in 2017 from outside the group, suggesting complications in an effort to clear a glut and support prices.

Hospital operator shares were hit after the CBO's nonpartisan research report showed 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under a Republican proposal. Airline stocks dropped as a blizzard swept through the heavily populated northeastern United States, grounding thousands of flights. United Continental fell 4.7 percent to $66.55 while Southwest Airlines dropped 3.0 percent and American Airlines lost 2.7 percent.




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