Energy Shares Tumble on Falling Oil Prices

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By Jacob Maslow

U.S. stocks took a hit on Tuesday as falling oil prices drove energy shares down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was down 1%, or 186 41 points, to 17,545. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) led the decline, tumbling 2.6%.

The S&P 500 (SPX) slid 0.8%, or 16.47 points, to 2060.68. The NASDAQ Composite (COMP) was down 0.7%, or 33.97 points, to 5,066.36.

Energy companies are facing increased pressure as oil prices continue to decline. Crude oil futures dropped below $37 a barrel after starting the day on a positive note.

China’s weak trade data report further fueled investor concerns, as Chinese exports declined for the fifth month straight. The report sparked concerns that China’s demand for oil will increase at a much slower pace than originally anticipated.

Stocks in the U.S. closed sharply lower as tumbling oil prices weighed on materials and energy stocks. After OPEC’s meeting on Friday, oil futures have fallen sharply as the group failed to put a ceiling on production.

Kinder Morgan (KMI), the energy infrastructure company, declined as much as 6.1%, while Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) was down as much as 5.2% on the day.

Tuesday also marked the start of the Federal Reserve’s blackout period. Policymakers are expected to meet December 15-16.

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