US stocks and crude oil prices fall as markets extend

NEW YORK — Stocks fell sharply Tuesday morning on Wall Street, extending the slide of major indexes as investors continue to worry about the state of the economy.

The S&P 500 fell 1.8% at 10:10 a.m. EST. More than 95% of stocks in the benchmark fell during the low opening after a long weekend for the Independence Day holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 615 points, or 2%, to 30,515 and the Nasdaq fell 1.3%.

Shares of smaller companies also fell. The Russell 2000 lost 1.9%.

Energy companies suffered some of the biggest losses as US oil prices fell 5%. Exxon Mobil lost 2.8%.

Banks also fell significantly, as well as bond yields. The 10-year Treasury yield, which helps set mortgage rates, fell to 2.82% from 2.90% Friday night. JPMorgan Chase fell 2.4%.

Tesla fell 3.4% after reporting its lowest quarterly sales figures since last fall.

European markets were also down.

Stocks remain in a slump that sent the S&P 500 into a bear market last month, meaning a prolonged decline of 20% or more from a recent high. Market performance in the first half of 2022 was the worst since the first six months of 1970.

Inflation weighed on businesses and consumers throughout the year, but tightened its grip after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The invasion drove up oil prices globally and drove gasoline prices in the United States to record highs. This has caused lower spending by consumers struggling with higher prices on everything from food to clothing.

Lockdowns in China due to rising COVID-19 cases have also compounded supply chain issues.

Central banks have raised interest rates in an attempt to moderate inflation. The Federal Reserve has been aggressive in its move from historically low interest rates at the height of the pandemic to unusually large rate increases. But it raised fears that the central bank could go too far in raising rates and dampen economic growth too hard, which could lead to a recession.

Wall Street has been watching the latest economic updates closely for more clues about inflation’s impact on the economy and whether that could alter the Fed’s stance on rate hikes. Wall Street will take a closer look at the job market on Friday when the government releases employment data for June.

Garland K. Long