Stocks headed downward again today, spurred by oil prices making a return to record territory. The price of crude hit $90.50 a barrel as traders reacted to yesterday's data predicting limited availability. "Oil is up—that doesn't help. And financials are getting hit," says one trader. The Dow was down 3.33 to 13,671.92, while the Nasdaq slipped 23.90 to 2,750.86, and the S&P 1.48 to 1,514.40.
Stocks dove midday, reports the Wall Street Journal, thanks to rumors that AIG would announce a big write-down. Things improved somewhat when those rumors turned out to be false. One surprise: Sales of new single-family homes increased, although analysts warn not to get too excited. "I don't think people will place too much emphasis on positive signals coming out of the housing market," says one.