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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dow loses 58, falls below 10,000

Associated Press

Oil prices reached a new high and sent stocks lower Monday, pushing the Dow Jones industrials back below 10,000. But with trading on Wall Street light and losses only moderate, investors seemed to be coming to terms with near-$50 per barrel crude.

As a barrel of light crude for November delivery settled at $49.64, up 76 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, stock investors grew more fearful that rising energy prices would slice into corporate profits. Monday’s close for crude broke the previous record settlement price of $48.88 set Friday, and prices reached $49.75 earlier in the session, marking the highest intraday trading level ever recorded.

However, analysts believed that Wall Street, which sold off substantially last week in response to oil’s climb, had found a bottom and that some investors were becoming optimistic that a year-end rally might be possible.

“Clearly we’ve had oil putting a lot of pressure on this market over the past week or so, but given where oil is right now, we would’ve expected the market to react even more negatively than where it is,” said Brian Belski, market strategist at Piper Jaffray. “With productivity and earnings still pretty strong, and inflation tame aside from oil and gas, we think the market still is set up for a positive move in the fourth quarter.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 58.70, or 0.6 percent, to 9,988.54. It was the Dow’s lowest close since Aug. 17, when it last closed below 10,000.

Broader stock indicators were moderately lower. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 6.59, or 0.6 percent, at 1,103.52, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 19.60, or 1 percent, to 1,859.88.

Oil producers and refiners still struggled to recover from Hurricane Ivan’s damage in the Gulf of Mexico, and global demand continues to tighten, analysts said, making the markets susceptible to even minimal losses in overall production. And investors are worried that if prices rise at the gas pump, consumer spending might be pared back just as retailers prepare for the holiday shopping season.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where preliminary consolidated volume came to 1.57 billion shares, compared with 1.55 billion on Friday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was down 7.61, or 1.3 percent, to 558.36.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.3 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 closed down 0.8 percent, France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.5 percent for the session and Germany’s DAX index lost 0.9 percent.