US Stocks Crumble As Market Panic Rises

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Talks among OPEC members deteriorated over the weekend and sent oil prices back into the gutter.

Wall Street investors are facing another day of major losses as a global dip in oil prices brutalize suffering portfolios. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 360 points as of 11:10 a.m. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down roughly 45 and 130 points respectively as of 11:10 a.m. European share prices hit their lowest valuations in 16 months, reports Reuters. Markets in China are still closed for new year celebrations.

The drop in oil coincided with a lackluster Friday jobs report that at best confused markets. It showed  a drop in unemployment but only a meager 151,000 new jobs created, coming in well below the already dour prediction of roughly 190,000. (RELATED: Unemployment Rate Hits 8-Year Low Despite Jobs Report Failing To Meet Expectations)

“The fundamental picture is clearly softening,” senior analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Owen Callan told Reuters. “You are seeing more and more people saying: is this 2008 again?”

Over the weekend on a tour of OPEC member nations Venezuelan officials met with Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in what many hoped would be a constructive talk about the current global glut in oil prices. The meeting yielded no results, with the official statement failing to even mention the current global oil price crisis, reports Bloomberg.

Friday’s jobs reports lowered expectations for a Federal Reserve rate hike in March, however the drop in unemployment left room for a potential hike later in the year. Market performance in the near term will give officials a better idea about the health and resilience of the U.S. economy.

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