May 24, 2024

Stocks Drop at Open as Oil Prices Decline

Crude oil was trading around $97 a barrel Thursday morning, down more than 1 percent. Oil and gas futures dropped sharply Wednesday after a government report showed demand for gasoline fell by the largest amount in seven weeks.

Silver dropped more than 6 percent, extending a deep slide from $48.60 an ounce at the end of April.

The government released reports on unemployment benefits, wholesale prices and retail sales before the stock market opened. The Labor Department said applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 434,000, after surging the previous week. Economists expected a slightly bigger drop in claims.

Retail sales rose for the tenth straight month in April, but much of the gain came from surging gasoline prices. Excluding the 2.7 percent jump in gasoline sales, retail sales rose just 0.2 percent.

Higher energy costs also pushed wholesale prices up 0.8 percent in April. That marked the seventh month in a row that companies had to pay more for raw materials.

Cisco Systems fell 5 percent in early trading, the largest drop among companies in the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index. The company said earnings slid 18 percent and lowered its earnings forecast. It plans to eliminate jobs to cut costs.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 69.93 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,560.10. The S. P. 500 was down 7.62 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,334.46, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 13.83 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,831.23.

Major indexes in Europe and Asia were also lower. The CAC 40 in France was down 1.2 percent.

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