Stocks, Oil Prices Fall in Tuesday Trading

July 7, 2008 - 8:22 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Despite an unexpected drop in oil prices, all three major markets on Wall Street ended lower in trading on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 106.48 points to 10,440.58; the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 36.60 points to close the day at 2,114.65; and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 13.18 points to 1,177.07.

In spite of supply fears prompted by an attack on a U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia, oil prices fell to $41.46 per barrel -- a three-month low -- as mild winter weather reduced demand in the northeastern U.S.

However, a report from the Labor Department showed that worker productivity grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the slowest pace in nearly two years.

Also, shares of health-care corporation Johnson & Johnson lost ground due to reports of a possible $24 billion takeover of medical-device maker Guidant Corp. As a result, Johnson & Johnson lost 2 percent, while Guidant gained 5 percent.

Noting that early December trading on Wall Street tends to be lackluster, Larry Wachtel, market analyst at Wachovia Securities, told Fox News that stocks need "something to boost things along. I don't see a lot of selling pressure. I don't see a reason for the market to dump," he said. "But I just don't see anything to drive it dramatically forward."

Still, Colgate-Palmolive, Co., gained more than 4 percent after the company announced plans to cut its worldwide work force by about 12 percent and close one-third of its factories as part of a four-year plan to boost sales and profits.

Overseas trading was mixed on Tuesday. While Japan's Nikkei stock average lost 0.99 percent, France's CAC-40, Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX indexes all made gains in the second trading session of the week.

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