US stock markets were down about 1.5 percent at midday Friday and were on track for their worst weekly performance in a month.
In U.S. economic news, retail sales rose slightly ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season, but a gauge of consumer spending rose more strongly. Producer inflation remained tame, and business inventories were flat.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were down 2.5 percent to below $36 a barrel in midday trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices rebounded from earlier losses, with futures up $3 at $1,074 an ounce in late-morning trade. The U.S. dollar fell versus the euro and other major currencies.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.5 percent in midday trade. Twenty-seven of the index’s 30 components were lower, led by DuPont, which plunged more than 5 percent after it announced a merger with fellow chemical giant Dow to create a company worth $130 billion.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.5 percent, with energy leading all 10 sectors lower.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 1.7 percent.