US stocks end lower on energy declines, China's outlook
Updated: 2012-03-21 10:08
NEW YORK - US stocks on Tuesday ended lower as energy shares declined on tumbling crude prices and investors worried about China's economic outlook.
Crude prices tumbled on Tuesday as the biggest OPEC exporter of Saudi Arabia promised more production to meet any supply shortfall. New York crude benchmark slipped over 2 percent, which triggered a wide-spread drop in the energy shares, making the energy sector the biggest loser with a 1.67-percent decline.
Adding to concerns, China raised its gasoline price by 6 to 7 percent, the biggest increase in three years. Investors feared that this would further burden the consumers and added pressure to China's already down-slowed economy.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department said that the housing starts slipped 1.1 percent in February, softer than analysts' expectation. But on the positive side of housing markets, new building permits rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted 717, 000 units, the highest level since October 2008.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 68.94 points, or 0.52 percent, to 13,170.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 4.23 points, or 0.30 percent, to 1,405.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 4.17 points, or 0.14 percent, to 3,074.15.