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U.S. stocks close lower amid oil plunge, data

2018-11-24 17:23

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U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday as steep oil price decline and soft economic data weighed on equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 178.74 points, or 0.73 percent, to 24,285.95. The S&P 500 decreased 17.37 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,632.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index erased 33.27 points, or 0.48 percent, to 6,938.98.

Crude oil prices plunged on Friday. West Texas Intermediate crude plunged about 7 percent to 50.60 U.S. dollars per barrel while Brent crude traded around 59.47 dollars per barrel, or shedding 5 percent, in early trading, both reaching their lowest level in more than a year.

The drop sent the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund - which tracks the S&P 500 energy sector - down nearly 3 percent.

On the economic front, investors continued to digest the soft data that came in on Wednesday.

The consumer sentiment index hit 97.5 in November, according to the University of Michigan's monthly survey of consumers. The figure was lower than economist estimate of 98.3 and was also down from October's 98.6.

U.S. weekly jobless claims rose to a more than four-month high. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 224,000 for the week ending Nov. 17, the highest level since the end of June, said the Labor Department on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the market was closed in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday.
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