June 6, 2998
NEW YORK – Stocks plunged Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrials down nearly 400 points, after oil prices shot up nearly $11 a barrel and neared $140 a barrel – and wiped out investors’ recent optimism about the economy in the process.
The prospect of higher energy prices that could hobble consumers and worsen a slowing economy had investors frenetically pulling money out of stocks. The bad news about rising energy prices compounded investors’ anxiety over a worrisome reading on unemployment, which for May showed its biggest monthly rise since 1986.
The decline in stocks also helped drive bond prices sharply higher as investors sought a more secure place for their money.
Crude oil has seen a huge rebound this week after falling amid a drop in demand for gasoline. The jump continued Friday; light, sweet crude set a high of $139.12 in after-hours trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after settling at $138.54, a gain of $10.75 in the regular session. The surge followed a Morgan Stanley analyst’s prediction that crude would reach $150 a barrel by July 4; a decline in the dollar and fresh tensions in the Middle East added to crude’s advance.
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