US Stock Market Summary – March 10, 2011

Published by: Kelly Curtis on 10th Mar 2011 | View all blogs by Kelly Curtis
US Stock Market Summary – March 10, 2011

US stocks plummeted Thursday amid concerns about the US economy and continuing unease over political unrest in Saudi Arabia.  The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 228 points, or 1.87 percent, and fell below the 12,000-point mark for the first time since January 31st, finishing the session at 11,985.  It was also the biggest one-day decline for the blue-chip index since August 11th.

29 of the Dow's 30 components posted losses on the day with energy and materials stocks like Exxon Mobile (XOM), Caterpillar (CAT), and Chevron (CVX) each losing at least 3 percent.  The Standard & Poors' 500, meanwhile, lost about 95 points in the session, 1.89 percent, to end at 1,295.  The tech-laden Nasdaq composite index didn't fare any better, either, as the broader index plunged 51 points, or 1.84 percent, to close at 2,701.

An accelerated sell-off was started about midway through Thursday's session by reports that Saudi police had fired shots and launched grenades at anti-government protesters, who had reportedly scheduled a “day of rage” as protesters had done in Egypt earlier this year before President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.  Investors are concerned the unrest could escalate as Saudi Arabia is a key OPEC oil producer and the United States' biggest ally in the region.

The news sent crude oil prices, which had fallen as much as 3 percent earlier, back up to the previous days' levels.

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