Energy Stocks Take Market Lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are dropping in midday trading Monday as investors dump energy companies. Benchmark U.S. crude is trading near its low for the year following a decision by OPEC last week not to cut production. Airline stocks rose on the prospect of lower fuel costs.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 152 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,695 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,072. The Nasdaq composite dropped 39 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,102

ENERGY DROP: Oil drillers and other energy companies are falling sharply as benchmark U.S. crude continues its 1 year tumble. U.S. crude fell $1.95, or nearly 5 percent, to $38.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after another sharp drop on Friday. Natural gas prices also fell. Among energy stocks, Consol Energy plunged $1.05, or 13 percent, to $6.67 and Chesapeake Energy lost 35 cents, or 8 percent, to $4.19.

THE QUOTE: "No one in the energy patch is willing to support the price (of oil) and if they aren't willing, the price will keep dropping," said Mizuho Securities Chief Economist Steven Ricchiuto. "The whole world is facing excess supply as the global economy slows."

TAKING OFF: Airline stocks rose sharply as investors anticipated that lower fuel costs would help the companies fatten their profit margins. JetBlue Airways jumped $1.03, or 4 percent, to $26.51, Southwest Airlines rose $1.54, or 3.1 percent, to $50.98 and Delta Air Lines gained $1.43, or 2.9 percent, to $51.20.

CHIPOTLE TUMBLE: Chipotle Mexican Grill dropped $16.30, or 3 percent, to $544.90. The restaurant chain warned late Friday that an outbreak of E. coli linked to its restaurants sent sales plummeting by as much as 22 percent in recent weeks.

COFFEE JOLT: Keurig Green Mountain soared 74 percent after agreeing to be acquired by a private equity firm. The stock jumped $38.32 to $90.02.

EUROPE'S DAY: The CAC-40 in France was 0.9 percent higher while Germany's DAX rose 1.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent.

CHINA DATA: Much focus this week will fall on China, the world's No. 2 economy, as investor continue to worry about slowing growth in the world's No. 2 economy. Trade data are due on Tuesday, inflation on Wednesday and retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment on Saturday.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1 percent, China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.3 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices edged up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.27 percent late Friday. The euro slipped to $1.0843 from $1.0871 and the dollar edged up to 123.28 yen from 123.22 yen.

(KA)