Wall Street drops on record oil price, unemployment figures

June 7th, 2008 - 7:11 am ICT by IANS  

New York, June 7 (DPA) US stocks dropped the most since the start of the year Friday after crude oil surged to a record high and jobless rate rose to 5.5 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 400 points after crude oil climbed more than $10 to close at $138.54 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had hit $139 per barrel earlier in the day.

The jobless rate rose to 5.5 percent in May from 5.0 percent a month earlier as the US shed jobs for the fifth straight month, the Labour Department said, raising fears that the world’s largest economy has entered a recession.

A total of 324,000 jobs have now been lost since the beginning of the year - 49,000 in the month of May alone.

The blue-chip Dow plunged 394.64 points, or 3.13 percent, to 12,209.81. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 43.37 points, or 3.09 percent, to 1,360.68. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 75.38 points, or 2.96 percent, to 2,474.56.

The US currency fell against the euro to 63.39 euro cents from 64.17 euro cents Thursday and dropped against the Japanese currency to 104 yen from 105.95 yen.

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