US stocks fall sharply; energy sector sinks along with oil

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U.S. stocks fell sharply in morning trading Monday, weighed down by steep losses in technology, financial and energy stocks. The slide followed sharp drops in Europe and set the market on course for its second big loss in a row. Crude oil prices slumped again.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 356 points, or 2.2 percent, to 15,848 as of 11:12 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 42 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,837. The Nasdaq composite dropped 120 points, or 2.8 percent, to 4,242.

THE QUOTE: “Traders are worried that the financial market weakness that we’re experiencing is going to lead to weakness in the real economy,” said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust Wealth Management.

TURBULENT MARKET: Several factors have investors in a selling mood this year, including falling crude oil prices and the economic slowdown in China and elsewhere. Traders will be monitoring several big company earnings this week to see what management teams say about their prospects for future earnings.

SECTOR VIEW: All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index lost ground. Banks and other financial companies fell the most, 3 percent. Consumer discretionary, technology and materials stocks also fell sharply.

IN TROUBLE: Harman International Industries was down 4.5 percent on news that a former executive at the car audio and video systems’ maker has been charged with insider trading by federal prosecutors. The stock shed $3.16 to $67.36.

GOING PRIVATE: Apollo Education Group vaulted 25 percent after agreeing to be acquired by a consortium led by investment firm The Vistria Group. The firm aims to take the for-profit college operator private. The stock gained $1.75 to $8.70.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Among Europe’s main indexes, Germany’s DAX fell 3.1 percent, while France’s CAC 40 dropped 3.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares slid 2.6 percent. In Asia, many markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 55 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $30.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 33 cents or 1 percent, to $33.73 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.75 percent from 1.84 percent late Friday. The euro was up at $1.1178 while the dollar fell to 115.39 yen.

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