Wall Street plunges amid concerns over Libya crisis

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEW YORK - US stocks dropped for a second straight day Wednesday as investors were concerned about Libya turmoil and the growing Middle East unrest, Xinhua reported.

Investors’ concerns over the uncertainty surrounding the world’s daily oil provision drove the oil price briefly to $100 a barrel for the first time since October 2008. With the oil price surging at a rapid pace, stocks were inevitably under severe pressure.

Energy stocks, however, became the strongest performers among Dow components Wednesday. Chevron gained 1.95 percent to $102.27. Exxon Mobil was up 1.63 percent to $87.7.

On economic front, sales of previously occupied homes rose 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in January, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The rise was a surprise for most analysts, but it failed to boost sentiment as the median sales price for an existing home fell to the lowest level in nearly nine years, showing the housing market was still one of the weakest points in the economy.

As of earning reports, Hewlett-Packard, the technology giant reported a 16-percent quarterly profit increase but a surprisingly weak revenue growth. Sales of world’s largest technology company by revenue declined in two of its biggest businesses: personal computers and technology services.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 107.01 points, or 0.88 percent, to 12,105.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 8.04 points, or 0.61 percent, to 1,307.40. The Nasdaq lost 33.43 points, or 1.21 percent, to 2,722.99.

Filed under: Economy

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