Volatility was the story yet again on Wall Street Tuesday. The stock market roared out of the gates this morning, jumping more than 200 points in the first half-hour of trading. By noon, the gains had slowed but the market was still well ahead for the day. But by mid-afternoon, oil prices took center stage yet again, as stocks lost all their morning gains and fell well into the red for the day.
Throughout the day, the Dow Jones Average experienced a swing of 425 points—up more than 280 points by 10 a.m. this morning, then down almost 150 by mid-afternoon.
Tuesday saw U.S. crude prices lose another 2.5 percent, falling below $45 per barrel for the first time in almost six years. Experts now believe that $33 per barrel—the commodity’s low point in 2009—is very much in play. Meanwhile, an OPEC oil minister reiterated the group is sticking to its current production strategy.
Experts attributed further losses to German bankers vocalizing their opposition to any quantitative easing measures by the European Central Bank.
The fourth-quarter earnings season got started yesterday, with Alcoa posting higher-than-expected results. It remains to be seen whether oil’s decline will affect the bottom line of major corporations.
As for earnings season, the financial giants get started on their results tomorrow when JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo report. Bank of America, Citigroup and Charles Schwab will follow later in the week.
Here were Tuesday’s final numbers on Wall Street:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 17,613.68 (-27.16)
NASDAQ: 4,661.50 (-3.21)
S&P 500: 2,023.03 (-5.23)