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VOL. 131 | NO. 10 | Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stocks Sink in Late Trading; Consumer Stocks Take a Beating

ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

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Stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading Wednesday as a dismal start to the new year got even worse. The selling was concentrated on some of the biggest winners from last year such as Netflix and Amazon, both of which doubled in value in 2015.

Energy companies continued to drop even as the price of oil had a rare up day. Traders are increasingly worried that a plunge in the price of crude to near $30 a barrel will lead to more strain, layoffs and bankruptcies for oil and gas companies.

With half an hour of trading left, all three major U.S. indexes were down about 2 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was about 10 percent below its recent peak reached in November. If it closes down that much it would meet the standard definition of a market "correction," something that last happened in August.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 311 points, or 1.9 percent, to 16,252 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index lost 40 points, or 2.1 percent, to 1,899. The Nasdaq composite dropped 130 points, or 2.8 percent, to 4,555.

THE QUOTE: "We're still waiting to see how earnings come out, and whether oil prices move back down again or stabilize here," said Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager for QMA.

ENERGY: The price of oil ended slightly higher after a day of wavering between gains and losses. Benchmark U.S. crude edged up 4 cents to close at $30.48 a barrel in New York. It had been up more than 3 percent in the first hour of trading, but stumbled on a report showing that demand for fuels slipped last week. Prior to that, crude had fallen for the previous seven trading days. It's down 18 percent so far this year.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 57 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $30.31 a barrel in London.

TIED TO OIL: Several oil and gas companies fell sharply as crude prices wavered. Williams Cos. tumbled $2.58, or 15.6 percent to $13.95. Consol Energy slid 82 cents, or 12.2 percent, to $5.88. Valero Energy shed $6.39, or 9 percent, to $64.80.

DISAPPOINTING OUTLOOKS: Investors sold off shares in Ford Motor and auto parts supplier BorgWarner after both companies issued earnings outlooks that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Ford fell 69 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $12.17. BorgWarner lost $3.89, or 10.4 percent, to $33.51.

EARNINGS UNDERWHELM: Railroad operator CSX and supermarket chain SuperValu were down after the companies reported their latest quarterly results. CSX slid $1.60, or 6.8 percent, to $22.10. SuperValu fell 68 cents, or 11.3 percent, to $5.33.

DEAL PLANS: MetLife climbed 3.3 percent after the company said it plans to sell or spin off a large part of its life insurance business. The stock gained $1.38 to $43.37.

OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent while France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 of leading British shares gained 0.5 percent. In Asia, stocks rallied despite a 2.4 percent drop in the Shanghai Composite. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 2.9 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.3 percent. Shares in New Zealand and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.07 percent from 2.11 percent late Tuesday. Trading in foreign exchange markets was subdued. The euro was little changed at $1.0857 and the dollar rose to 117.89 yen from 117.58 yen.

METALS: Precious and industrial metals futures closed mostly higher. Gold rose $1.90 to $1,087.10 an ounce, silver rose 41 cents to $14.16 an ounce and copper was little changed at $1.96 a pound.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 3.2 cents to $1.053 a gallon, heating oil fell 2.1 cents to 96.9 cents a gallon and natural gas rose 1.2 cents to $2.269 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 86 393 21,159
MORTGAGES 94 424 24,785
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 93 8,703
BUILDING PERMITS 173 1,010 43,347
BANKRUPTCIES 52 292 14,194
BUSINESS LICENSES 15 90 6,491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 28 167 13,678
MARRIAGE LICENSES 12 89 5,158

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