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NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Blue-chip stocks suffered their biggest intraday drop since October as reports of Saudi police firing on protesters added a new worry to a day of broader economic concerns.
The blue-chip index slipped under 12000 and was down 204 points, or 1.7%, to 12009 recently as the Associated Press reported that Saudi Arabian police fired on protesters in the country's east. The price of oil regained much of its early loss. No further details were available, but markets' swift reaction was a sign of how sensitive investors remain to indications of unrest in the oil-rich nation.
Demand for Treasurys was higher, and the greenback was stronger, with the euro trading at 1.3792 and the U.S. Dollar Index rising 0.7% to 77.27. Oil neared $103 a barrel.
"Saudi Arabia is the most important component for oil exports, so whatever happens there does matter a lot," said Karl Mills, chief investment officer at Jurika Mills & Kiefer. Mills cautioned that the country is in a different situation than Libya, but if the unrest spreads to the Saudi kingdom, "then you'll see [oil] prices jump up, and that'll cause some fear and panic in the markets."
NEW YORK (AP) -- Just when Americans put aside their fears and started buying stocks again, here come a host of reminders of why they left.
Ominous news from around the world caused stocks to plummet on Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to the worst one-day drop in seven months.
Claims for unemployment insurance rose unexpectedly. A credit rating agency lowered Spain's credit grade, amplifying worries that Europe's debt crisis will worsen. China's economy showed a surprising sign of weakness -- a trade deficit brought on in part by surging oil prices.
And just when markets started bouncing back, Saudi police opened fire on protesters in the eastern city of Qatif, raising concerns about the stability of the oil-rich kingdom. Oil prices swung wildly, and the Dow again dipped below the 12,000 mark.
Originally posted by buni11687
Claims for unemployment insurance rose unexpectedly. A credit rating agency lowered Spain's credit grade, amplifying worries that Europe's debt crisis will worsen.