US stocks dive as oil price falls back below $30

NYSE traders Image copyright Getty Images

(Closed) Wall Street stocks ended the week with a sharp fall, as the price of oil dropped back below $30 a barrel.

The S&P 500 index had its worst close since August 2014, ending 41.56 points down to 1,880.28.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 391.79 points to 15,987.26 while the Nasdaq index dropped 126.59 points to 4,488.42.

The losses wiped out the gains recorded on Thursday, when a small rebound in the oil price had sparked a recovery.

New US economic data showing a decline in industrial production and lower than expected holiday sales figures also shook the markets.

Energy stocks saw big falls as the price of oil fell to fresh 12-year lows.

Brent crude fell to $28.82 a barrel at one point the lowest since February 2004 before recovering slightly to $28.94. US crude touched a low of $29.13, but rose to $29.42 by the end of the day.

Oil giant Chevron was one of the biggest losers on the Dow, dropping 2%.

Shares in Intel fell more than 9% after the tech giant's fourth quarter results - released late on Thursday - failed to impress investors.

Citigroup shares were down 6.4% despite the bank reporting a big increase in fourth quarter profits, helped by a fall in legal fees. The bank's exposure to the energy sector spooked some investors.