Oil sinks below $56 as stocks dive into red – USA TODAY

This week a lot of food-related companies are reporting earnings. USA TODAY’s Matt Krantz talks about what investors should expect.

Stocks fell again Monday following the market’s worst week since September 2011 as oil prices plunged again, showing no signs of hitting a bottom.

In a volatile trading session, stocks opened higher as the Dow shot up more than 100 points at the opening bell before reversing course and tumbling more than 100 points.

The catalyst once again was oil, as crude continues it’s downward spiral with the price of U.S. crude tumbling about 4% to $55.44 a barrel.

As of 3:15 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average is down about 50 points, or 0.3%, to 17,230. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is off 5 points, or 0.3%, to 1997 and the Nasdaq composite is 28 points, or 0.6% lower, to 4635.

The major indexes have dropped five of the last six trading sessions.

Europe markets followed a similar up-down trajectory, the DAX of Germany losing 2.7% and the CAC 40 of France shedding 2.5%.

Last week, Wall Street had one of its worst weeks in two and a half years, with the Dow plunging 315 points on Friday and falling 3.8% for the week.

PetSmart (PETM) is up more than 4% on Sunday’s news that the pet products retailer is being acquired for about $8.2 billion. The transaction, led by group of investors led by BC Partners and including Longview Asset Management, is the biggest private equity deal of 2014.

USA TODAY

Homebuilder sentiment slips in December

U.S. manufacturing output in November surpassed its pre-recession peak, as auto production kicked into a higher gear. The Federal Reserve said Monday that factory production rose 1.1% last month, up from a 0.4% improvement in October.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.6% and Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1%.

OPEC: ‘No set price’ for oil

Stocks in Australia fell Monday amid a hostage situation at a cafe in downtown Sydney. The S&P/ASX 200 closed the trading session down 0.6%.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Kim Hjelmgaard.

Oil price swoon sparks comparison to 2000 Nasdaq bust http://t.co/vecj2QMe92

— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) December 15, 2014

Investors, it’s time to believe in Santa … rally http://t.co/drpDIB0soB Photo: @APpic.twitter.com/jxgpBdelpT

— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) December 15, 2014

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