Crude oil prices swept to another new high today, wiping out what looked like it was going to be another big day for Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 100 points in early trading, buoyed by traders' confidence that the latest interest rate hike will not hurt the economy.
But rising oil prices are another matter. Wall Street has been worrying for weeks that high-priced petroleum will cramp consumer spending and erode business profits. And as crude oil keeps climbing, those fears worsen.
Today crude oil jumped $1.93 a barrel to $64.90 in futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The latest all-time record was set after government reports showed Americans have not cut back their driving in response to soaring gasoline prices.
Gasoline inventories continued to shrink the reports showed, although the nation's stockpile of unrefined crude oil grew a little.
The tanks of oil companies today hold about 4 percent less gasoline than they had a year ago, and consumption continues unabated, the weekly stockpiles report showed.
While drivers haven't cut back on total gasoline purchases, they have switched from premium to lower grades, industry groups reported. And purchases of gas with credit cards is way up -- a hint that some people may not have the cash to fill up their tanks, which could bode badly for consumer spending in the months ahead.
As oil prices climbed at mid-day, stocks began giving up their early gain.
The Dow, which reached a five-month high in morning trading, made a 120-point downturn, closing off 21 points at 10,594.41. The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index fell 16 points to 2,157.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index lost two points, closing at 1,229.13.
Technology stocks were also knocked down by a disappointing performance at Cisco Systems, the biggest maker of computers for the Internet.