NEW YORK, JAN. 7 -- The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 43 points today as the bond market tumbled and oil prices surged on war fears and nervousness over the failure of Bank of New England Corp.

The Dow has now fallen by more than 110 points in the new year and has gone far toward painting a grim picture for January, a bellwether month for many technical traders.

A nearly 1 1/2 point loss in the U.S. bond market, a $2.75-per-barrel surge to $27.65 in February crude-oil futures and a $9-per-ounce jump to $396.20 in February gold futures all served to undermine stocks today.

A dramatic rally in the U.S. dollar, up nearly 1.5 yen and 3 German marks as stocks closed, failed to help equities since gains were principally generated by "flight to safety" buying tied to Middle East war jitters.

On the corporate front, heavy selling in General Motors stock, while not a prime factor in moving the market, reinforced views of a dismal first half of 1991, traders said. GM shares fell 1 1/8 to 39 1/2 after analysts predicted a $1.4 billion fourth-quarter loss could leave the nation's largest automaker without a profit for the year.

Strategist Thom R. Brown at Rutherford, Brown and Catherwood in Philadelphia summed up the session: "Given {Iraqi President Saddam} Hussein's big mouth, the General Motors news and the Bank of New England failure, the market was greeted with pretty grim tidings this morning."

At the close, the Dow stood at 2522.77, down 43.32 points and at its lowest level in more than five weeks. Declining issues swamped advancing ones on the Big Board by an almost 4-to-1 ratio. The only redeeming feature of trading was the relatively light volume, 130 million shares, down from 140 million on Friday.

Among Dow components, Merck lost 2 1/4 to 83, and IBM dropped 1 7/8 at 110 1/4, continuing the new year's profit-taking that had dominated the market late last week.

In the same vein, CPC International tumbled 3 7/8 to 74 1/4, Gerber Products lost 2 to 52, Ralston-Purina gave up 1 3/8 to 93 5/8 and J.M. Smucker skidded 2 3/4 to 41 5/8, for example.

But broad industry-group interest was more squarely focused on financial stocks, traders said. Northeast banks caught up in the Bank of New England news included Shawmut Nation, which slipped 3/8 to 4 3/4, Bank of Boston, which eased 1/2 to 5 7/8, and Fleet/Norstar, which dipped 1/8 to 10 3/4.

Sallie Mae lost 2 3/8 to 45 3/4 on active volume of 1.9 million shares after trading down over 8 percent on the day at midafternoon. A New York Times story said that the White House may propose sweeping changes in the national student-loan program that traders feared could threaten Sallie Mae's future earnings.

Among other financial stocks, insurance companies suffered, with Aetna down 2 1/4 at 34 1/4, CNA down 2 1/8 at 63 5/8 and Marsh & McLennan down 1 at 74. Financial-services issues were broadly lower as well.

Among broad stock indexes, the Standard & Poor's 500 was down 5.56 at 315.44, the New York Stock Exchange Composite down 2.88 at 173.07, the Value Line down 3.86 at 235.33, the Amex Market Value down 2.87 at 300.18 and the Nasdaq Composite down 7.00 at 360.24.