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Dow Drops 300 as Oil Drags Down Markets

Crude oil's stranglehold on stocks tightened Friday.
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Oil hauled stocks lower again on Friday, with all major indexes scoring sizable losses. The Dow industrials closed down 315.51 points, or almost 1.8 percent, capping the worst week for the index this year.

The S&P 500 shed 1.6 percent.The Nasdaq declined 1.2 percent.

Brent crude slipped to $61.35 a barrel, its lowest since July 2009, while WTI crude was last down almost 4 percent at $57.66 as worries persisted over a global supply glut and sluggish demand. Oil prices fell after the International Energy Agency cut its forecast for oil demand in 2015 and warned that lower oil prices raises the risk of social instability around the world. The report increased worries about the global economy and demand. China heightened those concerns after it released some disappointing data on industrial production in the world's second-largest economy.

"Don’t try to catch a falling knife. That’s what you have here," said Terry Morris, senior equity manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The fall in oil could be a boon for consumers, however, who have seen gas prices tumble to levels not seen since 2009. "The good news is that this is a tailwind for the consumer. That's a positive that's being ignored," said Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

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US oil settles under $58

Dec. 12, 201401:04


-- NBC Staff, CNBC and Reuters