Stocks, Oil Prices Continue Falling

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NEW YORK - Wall Street sent stocks down sharply for a second straight day Thursday.

The weakness comes ahead of tomorrow's October jobs report,
expected to reflect damage from the economic downturn. Thursday,
retailers were told of declining sales last month, as consumers avoided
many non-essential purchases.

The Dow fell 443 points to 8,695. The S&P declined about 48 points to 904. And the Nasdaq composite was down nearly 73 points to 1,608.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing stocks by a 5 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume on the NYSE came to 5.9 billion shares. Nasdaq stock market volume was 2.4 billion shares.

And oil prices are continuing to drop.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell $4.53 on the New York Mercantile Exchange today, settling at $60.77 a barrel. That was a drop of 7 percent for the day. Since their peak in mid-July when the price per barrel topped $147, oil prices have dropped nearly 60 percent.

As the economy has slowed, the demand for energy has faded, and
that's also been pushing gasoline prices down. According to AAA,
the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded has
fallen by nearly a third in the past month and now stands at $2.34.