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Posted: April 12, 2013 11:08 a.m.

A weak start on Wall Street; energy stocks slide

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy companies led the stock market lower Friday as the price of oil sank 2 percent. Major indexes were still on track to end the week with strong gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 36 points at 14,828, a loss of 0.2 percent, shortly after 10 a.m. The Dow had surged more than 2 percent, a climb of 300 points, over the previous four days.

The price of crude oil dropped $2 to $91 a barrel in early trading Friday in New York. The International Energy Agency lowered its forecast for global oil demand this year, echoing predictions made earlier this week by OPEC and the U.S. Energy Department.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 was down seven points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,588. The Nasdaq composite dropped 12 points, also 0.4 percent, to 3,288.

Wells Fargo dropped 2 percent to $36.84. Quarterly profits surged for the country's biggest mortgage lender, but revenue slumped below Wall Street's forecasts.

M&T Bank fell 4 percent to $100.87. The bank said it had to delay its merger with Hudson City Bancorp after the Federal Reserve flagged the bank's compliance with money-laundering rules.

A handful of reports out Friday also heightened concerns about the economy. Sales at U.S. retailers fell in March and companies restocked their shelves at a much slower pace in February than in the month before. That means companies expect weaker consumer and business spending.

Those reports pushed traders into the safety of Treasurys. In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.74 percent from 1.79 percent late Thursday.

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