Dow sinks nearly 450 points as oil prices spike

NEW YORK, March 23 (Xinhua)– U.S. stocks sank on Wednesday as a spike in oil prices fueled fears about higher inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 448.96 points, or 1.29 percent, to 34,358.50. The S&P 500 decreased 55.37 points, or 1.23 percent, to 4,456.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 186.22 points, or 1.32 percent, to 13,922.60.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with financials and health care down 1.84 percent and 1.77 percent, respectively, leading the laggards. Energy and utilities rose 1.74 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively, the only two gaining groups.

Oil prices jumped on Wednesday with both the U.S. crude standard and Brent settling up more than 5 percent, as concerns about supply shortages linger.

Investors worried that a surge in energy prices would complicate the outlook on inflation and threaten an economic recovery.

Earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that inflation is “much too high,” adding the U.S. central bank “will take the necessary steps to ensure a return to price stability.”

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly higher on Wednesday with eight of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on an upbeat note.

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