Stocks are lower in trading today and are on pace to close the week in the red.
Near 12:30 p.m. ET, the Dow was down 211 points, the S&P 500 was down 19 points and the Nasdaq was down 41 points.
The big plunge today has been in West Texas Intermediate crude oil. Futures fell to its lowest level since early January, by more than 3% to as low as $US45.02 per barrel.
The US is running out of storage space for oil, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Friday, adding that oil prices are headed even lower. And on Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration said that US inventories remain at the highest levels in at least 80 years.
At 1:00 p.m. ET, we’ll get the latest rig counts data from Baker Hughes.
The Euro fell to yet another 12-year low against the dollar, sliding below $US1.05 to as low as $US1.404. Turkey’s lira fell to an all-time low.
Herbalife shares are surging, up as much as 12%, following a report that the FBI is investigating hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and his contractors for manipulating the stock. Bill Ackman has shorted the stock and believes the company is a pyramid scheme.
Meanwhile, Lumber Liquidators fell more than 6% after Goldman downgraded its stock to “Neutral” from “Buy.” Goldman said during Thursday’s conference call, the company did not adequately address concerns about its testing procedure in its laminate flooring.
The two economic indicators out this morning missed expectations. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to a four-month low of 91.2 in March from 95.4 in February, versus consensus of 96. And the producer price index unexpectedly fell 0.5% in February; economists were expecting a 0.3% increase.
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