Oil, Gas Lead Stocks Lower

Oil, Gas Lead Stocks Lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were moderately lower in midday trading Monday as the price of oil took another tumble amid renewed concerns about the Chinese and U.S. economies.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 56 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,411 as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,931 and the Nasdaq composite lost 15 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,600.

OIL PROBLEMS: Crude oil went lower again after posting solid gains last week. Oil fell $1.67 to $31.95 a barrel. Natural gas took an even steeper tumble, falling 7 percent.

Energy stocks fell in tandem with oil and gas prices, and the energy component of the S&P 500 lost 2.5 percent. Southwestern Energy declined 32 cents, or 4 percent, to $8.57, Transocean dropped 60 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $9.82 and Chesapeake Energy fell 19 cents, or 6 percent, to $3.20.

CHINA MANUFACTURING: Global stocks and oil prices started to decline after a Chinese factory purchasing manager survey fell to 49.4 in January, the lowest level in more than three years. It's the latest sign of weakness for the world's second-largest economy. Numbers below 50 indicate contraction. Chinese stocksclosed down 2 percent on the news.

THE QUOTE: "There are precious few indicators that point to a recovery within China and this continues to spell bad news for the global economy which has been hugely reliant upon Chinese demand," said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG.

FACTORY WORRIES: The economic data out of the U.S. did not help investor sentiment either. A survey of manufacturing activity in the U.S. came in at 48.2, below economists' analysts.

RECOVERING FROM ILLNESS: Chipotle Mexican Grill rose $24.11, or 5 percent, to $477.08 after news reports said federal regulators planned to declare the E. coli outbreak at the restaurant chain to be over.

TWITTER CHATTER: Twitter jumped $1.42, or 8 percent, $18.20 following reports that the company is in talks with private equity firms to possibly acquire or invest in the Internet company.

HEALTH CARE MERGERS: Shares of Alere jumped $16.80, or 45 percent, to $54 after Abbott Laboratories announced it was purchasing Alere, a health care company focused on dialogistics, for $5.8 billion. Abbot Labs shares fell 12 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $37.72.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.95 percent. The dollar fell to 120.92 yen from 121.10 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.0897 from $1.0829.

(KA)