NEW YORK (AP) -- Tumbling demand for commodities and a drop in the euro led to a broad stock sell-off Wednesday that pulled the Dow Jones industrial average down 130 points.
Demand for gasoline in the U.S. fell by the largest amount in seven weeks, the Energy Information Administration said, a signal that consumers are conserving money as gas prices near a national average of $4 a gallon. Gas futures fell almost 8 percent. Crude oil fell back below $100 a barrel, a loss of more than 4 percent.
Fewer fill-ups may be an early sign of a broader drop in consumer and business spending as customers forgo trips to malls and restaurants and companies ship fewer products. That, in turn, could lead to lower corporate earnings and halt a stock rally that has sent the stock market up 7 percent this year.
"People are becoming more conservative in their outlook and their spending as oil prices have risen, and that's making the market become more concerned about growth," said Quincy Krosby, the chief strategist at Prudential Financial.