3 Sep 2008

Wall St led lower by energy, tech companies

6:31 pm on 3 September 2008

US stocks slipped on Tuesday as a steep decline in the price of oil weighed on commodity-related companies, and tech shares fell.

The market had risen sharply in the morning, with the Dow industrials rising as much as 1.5% as oil prices fell to a five-month low on relief that damage to US energy infrastructure from Hurricane Gustav appeared to be limited.

But as fears faded that Gustav would cause a prolonged disruption to energy supplies, the focus shifted to the reasons for oil's decline since July: fears of slowing world energy demand and rising stockpiles.

Meanwhile, fears that tech companies will suffer from a global slowdown continued on Tuesday. Markets had tumbled on Friday after computer maker Dell Inc warned that companies worldwide are cutting back on technology spending.

Concerns a sharp slowdown in global economies could dent demand also hurt commodity-related companies such as miner Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc and energy company Exxon Mobil Corp, which led the S&P 500 lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.30 points, or 0.01% , to 11,542.25, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.03 points, or 0.31%, at 1,278.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 16.77 points, or 0.71%, at 2,350.75.