washingtonpost.com  > Print Edition > Business > Articles Inside Business

Soaring Oil Prices Undermine Market

Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page F09


Just when investors thought the oil crisis was over, crude gushed to a record $48.88 a barrel last week, spewing red ink over Wall Street. The stunning run-up in oil prices was blamed on Hurricane Ivan, which blew away oil production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, tightening an already tight supply.

The logic that leads from a hurricane to higher oil prices to stock market losses is as hard to track as the path of a tropical storm. But oil gave Wall Street something new to worry about, and when investors are worried, they sell.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which had been up for six weeks in a row, ended its streak with a loss of 18 points, or 1.6 percent. The other, more erratic indexes were also down. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 237 points, a 2.3 percent loss. The Nasdaq composite index fell 30 points, or 1.6 percent.

The week's losses left the Dow down for the month of September, which traditionally produces market losses. Nasdaq and the S&P are up for the month, but there are still four trading days left.

-- Jerry Knight

© 2004 The Washington Post Company