What are symptoms of an inflationary recession?
"Crude's surge to record territory over $100 a barrel quashed a daylong stock rally, as investors unloaded consumer stocks that may suffer as everyday Americans spend more at the pump.
Other raw materials rallied, and mixed profit news from retail bellwethers Wal-Mart Stores and OfficeMax further muddied the outlook for consumption, which represents more than two-thirds of U.S. economic output.
After posting triple-digit gains for much of Tuesday's session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently traded down 19.38 points, or 0.2%, at 12328.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 was off 0.1%, or 1.90 points, at 1348.09, hurt by a 1% pullback in its consumer-discretionary sector. The Nasdaq Composite Index was off 0.8%, or 17.85 points, at 2303.95.
Energy prices were up strongly due to supply concerns. Traders bid up refined fuels following Monday's explosion at a Alon USA's refinery in Big Springs, Texas. And crude-oil futures jumped $4.51, or 4.7% to $100.01 a barrel in New York Mercantile Exchange trade on growing concerns that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may cut output at its fast-approaching March 5 meeting.
'It is normal for OPEC to cut its production in March every year,' Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nazari said Monday, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
In early January, crude crossed the triple-digit threshold on an intraday basis, but it never closed above the mark until Tuesday.
Prices for oil and other commodities have strengthened in recent weeks, in part because of rising confidence that demand can remain solid in the U.S. But if demand shows signs of slipping, or if high costs begin to translate into higher inflation readings in the months ahead, the stock market could suffer."