Energy Companies Lead U.S. Stocks Lower after Oil Price Plunge


NEW YORK (AP) The steepest drop in oil prices in more than three years put investors in a selling mood Tuesday, extending a losing streak for the S&P 500 index to a fourth day. Energy stocks led a lateafternoon sell-off on Wall Street after the price of U.S. crude oil plunged 7.1 percent to $55.69 a barrel, the lowest level since December 2017. Oil has now fallen for 12 straight days, driven by worries over rising oil production around the world and weakening demand from developing countries.

The S&P 500 index fell 4.04 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,722.18. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 100.69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,286.49. The Nasdaq composite was little changed at 7,200.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 3.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,514.80.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil plunged 7.1 percent to $55.69 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 6.6 percent to close at $65.47 a barrel in London. Heating oil fell 4.3 percent to $2.06 a gallon, and wholesale gasoline dropped 5.7 percent to $1.54 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 8.3 percent to $4.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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