Oil prices kept on pummeling the markets today, and minutes from the Fed's most recent meeting confirmed warnings of higher inflation and lower growth—signaling a pause in rate cuts. "The rise in energy products is going to be the knell for consumer spending," one analyst tells the Wall Street Journal. The Dow ended down 227.49 to 12,601.19, the Nasdaq fell 43.99 to 2,448.27, and the S&P dropped 22.69 to 1,390.71.
The only gainers in the Dow were oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil, the Journal adds. Analysts fear that if prices keep rising, consumer spending won't be able to stave off recession. "The stock market has sort of been in denial about this until now. I mean, these prices are punitive," says hedge-fund chief Douglas Kass.