Jan 20, 2016 5:38 PM

Stocks slide as oil tumbles, S&P lowest in almost 2 years

AP Markets Writer

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks slumped Wednesday as the price of oil suffered its worst one-day drop since September, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell to its lowest level in almost two years.

Investors are worried that low oil prices mean there's not that much demand for fuel. That would be a sign that growth in the global economy is slowing down. Stocks in the U.S. started sharply lower following widespread selling overseas, and looked like they were headed for huge losses. At one point the Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 565 points.

After a late recovery, the Dow closed down 249.28 points, or 1.6 percent, to 15,766.74. The S&P 500 index fell 22 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,859.33. That is its lowest closing price since April 2014.

The Nasdaq composite, which briefly turned positive in the afternoon, lost 5.26 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,471.69. The Dow is the lowest it's been since August, and the Nasdaq is at its lowest since October 2014.

U.S. crude dropped $1.91, or 6.7 percent, to $26.55 a barrel in New York. That was the biggest one-day plunge for U.S. oil since Sept. 1. U.S. crude is down 28 percent in 2016 and is trading at its lowest level since May 2003.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 88 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $27.88 a barrel in London.


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