Stocks fell lower Tuesday after a three-day rally that put the Dow Jones industrial average over 12,000 for the only time since the earthquake struck Japan over a week ago.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5 points to 12,032 in afternoon trading Tuesday while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 3, or 0.2 percent, to 1,295. The Nasdaq composite index also fell a minor 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,685.
Today’s modest changes betray general trading patterns for the month, which have been defined by dramatic point gains and losses. The Dow Jones industrial average has risen or fell at least 100 points in four of the last five trading days as a result of the distress in Japan following the earthquake and the ongoing conflict in Libya.
Marking the most significant gain since September, the Dow climbed 3.6 percent over the last three days returning it near to the closing point on March 11 before the earthquake in Japan caused the market to tumble. Breaking through 1,300 on the S&P remains unlikely in the near future according to some analysts, who believe the combination of turmoil in the Middle East and Japanese are too detrimental to investor confidence for a major recovery. Crude oil prices, which have been in the spotlight since prices soared in mid-February, rose $1.16 to $104.25 per barrel today.
Oil has been vacillating between $100-$104 a barrel recently as investors and analysts speculated how the nuclear disaster in Japan wouldaffect fuel consumption in the world’s third largest economy.
DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer