Stocks plunged Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 166 points as oil prices briefly moved past the psychologically important $60-a-barrel level for the first time. Oil's advance accelerated a sell-off prompted by poor earnings from FedEx, which blamed high fuel prices for its disappointing earnings.
FedEx's profit missed Wall Street expectations and raised new concerns about oil's impact on corporate earnings. That led crude oil futures to creep higher through the day, breaking through the $60-a-barrel barrier.
The Dow fell 166.49, or 1.6 percent, to 10,421.44. Broader stock indicators also lost substantial ground. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 21.37, or 1 percent, to 2070.66. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index declined 13.15, or 1.1 percent, to 1200.73.
Good unemployment news appeared to mitigate the losses in early trading. The Labor Department reported the number of first-time jobless claims fell to 314,000 last week, less than the 330,000 economists expected and down from 334,000 the previous week.
But Wall Street was disappointed by comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking before the Senate Finance Committee. Greenspan said there's "no credible evidence" U.S. manufacturing or jobs would be helped by China revamping its currency system -- a disappointment to many hoping that such a move would aid the U.S. economy.
FedEx tumbled $7.35, to $80.77. Profit rose 9 percent in the latest quarter, but rising jet fuel costs and the expense of adding a new round-the-world flight route led the shipping company to miss Wall Street expectations by 2 cents a share. Rival shipper UPS fell $1.32, to $68.91, and trucking company Yellow Roadway dropped $1.51, to $48.50.
Del Monte Foods fell 49 cents, to $10.36. The company reported a 66 percent drop in quarterly profit, blaming high raw material and transportation costs.
Delphi slipped 5 cents, to $5.01, after the auto parts manufacturer named turnaround specialist Robert S. Miller as chairman and chief executive. The move came one day after the struggling company cut its dividend in half.
New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 73.54, to 7246.55.
American Stock Exchange index fell 11.32, to 1536.71.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 9.33, to 634.12.
NYSE: 2.02 billion shares, up from 1.81 billion on Wednesday. Decliners outnumbered advancers
2 to 1.
Nasdaq: 2.03 billion shares, up from 1.68 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers
7 to 3.
Crude oil for August delivery: $59.42, up $1.33.
Gold for current delivery: $441.70 a troy ounce, up from $438.10 on Wednesday.