updated 11/12/2010 3:38:50 PM ET 2010-11-12T20:38:50

Shares of mining companies dropped Friday with the broader market as the price of oil and precious metals fell on growing concerns that rapid growth in China will slow.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 100 points in early afternoon trading, led by sharp losses in energy and materials stocks.

Investors are worried that China might have to raise interest rates to fight inflation, which brought worries of waning demand for a wide range of commodities. A slowdown in China could ripple across the world because that country's strength has helped offset sluggish growth elsewhere, like in the U.S. Many companies have credited international sales as a major revenue driver.

China's appetite for crude and other imports is also vital to other countries. China is the largest energy consumer in the world, and any economic slowdown there could stall its consumption.

Benchmark oil for December delivery dropped more than 3 percent in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold fell 2.6 percent and was back below $1,400 an ounce. Copper dropped 2.8 percent, while silver slid 5 percent.

Shares of metal miners like Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. dropped about 4 percent in afternoon trading. Coal companies were also down. Peabody Energy Corp., one of the world's largest, dropped 3.8 percent.

Aluminum makers also lost ground. Alcoa shares dropped about 2 percent in late afternoon.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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