Oil prices pressured the stock markets Friday, casting doubt not only on fourth-quarter earnings but also on the overall health of the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 107.95, or 1.1 percent, to 9757.81, the lowest since Nov. 24.
A barrel of light crude was quoted at $55.17, up 70 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"These oil prices are really going to bite the consumer at some point. Heating oil is up, it's supposed to be a very cold winter in the Northeast, and lower- and middle-income people are going to pay," said Russ Koesterich, U.S. equity strategist at State Street Corp. "Combine that with a total lack of fundamentals in the big-name stocks, and there are very few places left to hide for investors."
Shares of Google surged in early trading as the online search company doubled revenue and profit from last year. Like its initial public offering two months ago, Google was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise depressed market. Google shares closed at $172.43, up $23.05.
Broader stock indicators also were substantially lower. The Nasdaq composite index fell 38.48, or 2 percent, to 1915.14, its biggest one-day drop since Aug. 6. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index dropped 10.75, or 1 percent, to 1095.74, its lowest close since Aug. 23.
The Dow and S&P 500 lost ground for the third straight week. The Nasdaq gained slightly as technology earnings outpaced those of other sectors.
For the week, the Dow lost 1.77 percent, and the S&P dropped 1.12 percent, while the Nasdaq gained 0.19 percent.
Dow component Microsoft slipped 82 cents, to $27.74, after beating Wall Street estimates by 2 cents a share before one-time charges. Analysts were concerned about a drop-off in long-term contract revenue, a possible sign that demand for the company's software was waning as companies waited for a long-delayed update of the Windows operating system.
Online retailer Amazon.com missed its third-quarter earnings forecasts by a penny per share, even as the company saw its profits triple from a year ago. A disappointing 2005 sales outlook further disappointed investors. Amazon.com fell $4.87, or 12.3 percent, to $34.60.
Coca-Cola, also a Dow component, slid 58 cents, to $38.90, after posting a 24 percent drop in quarterly profit on flat revenue. However, the soft-drink giant managed to beat reduced Wall Street estimates by 3 cents per share.
Fast-food operator Wendy's International reported a 4 percent increase in its third-quarter profit, but issued a lower outlook for its full 2004 results. Wendy's stock was up 93 cents, at $32.73.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 42.17, to 6521.32; the American Stock Exchange index rose 2.59, to 1306.33; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 8.88, to 567.78.
* Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones by 7 to 4 on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.47 billion shares, from 1.67 billion on Thursday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, declines outnumbered advances by 2 to 1 and volume totaled 1.72 billion, down from 1.98 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose $1.87 per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 3.97 percent, from 4.00 percent on Thursday.
* The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 107.26 yen, down from 107.45 late Thursday, and a euro bought $1.2648, up from $1.2616.
* Gold for current delivery rose to $424.60 a troy ounce, from $424.40 on Thursday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.