US stocks fall sharply, led by energy stocks and jobless claims

Business Materials 5 September 2008 05:54 (UTC +04:00)

US stocks posted sharp losses on Thursday as oil prices continued to fall and weekly jobless numbers sparked wider concerns about the state of employment in a sluggish US economy, reported dpa.

The job fears came ahead of monthly unemployment figures due out on Friday, and dragged down shares in Caterpillar Inc and United Technologies Corp among others. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted a further 75,000 jobs were lost in August.

Boeing Co fell after its largest union voted to reject a new contract offer. The plane manufacturer now has two days to renegotiate or face a strike.

Exxon Mobil Corp led energy shares lower, as crude oil for October delivery fell 45 cents to 107.44 dollars per barrel - down nearly 30 per cent from a record high of 147.27 dollars earlier this summer.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 344.65 points, or 2.99 per cent, to 11,188.23. The broad-based Standard & Poor's 500 Index tumbled 38.15 points, or 2.99 per cent, to 1,236.83. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 74.69 points, or 3.2 per cent, to 2,259.04.

The US currency edged higher to 70.10 euro cents from 68.99 euro cents on Wednesday. The dollar fell against the Japanese currency to 106.48 yen from 108.28 on Wednesday.

Gold fell to 803.20 dollars from 808.20 dollars per fine ounce on Wednesday.