Wall Street fell after a weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil installations crippled 5% of the world’s oil supply, raising fears for the global economy and increasing the risk of war between the U.S. and Iran.
Oil prices soared after the news, with the U.S. blaming Iran for the attacks. The Islamic Republic denies any involvement.
The Dow fell 83 points or 0.3% by 9:36 AM ET (13:36 GMT), while the S&P 500 lost 11 points or 0.4% and the Nasdaq composite was down 37 points or 0.5%.
Energy stocks were the big winners after the open as U.S. oil companies benefited from crude futures hitting nearly $60 a barrel. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) rose 3.2% and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) was up 2.9%, while Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) was up 3.1%.
The surge in crude prices is a godsend for some more marginal shale producers, which had been badly hit by the near 30%-drop in crude since last September. Yuma Energy (NYSE:YUMA) jumped 92.5%, while Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) surged 15.7% and Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) rose 12.2% and Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) rose 42.4%.
Airline companies fell in anticipation of higher fuel costs, with American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) flailing 5%, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) losing 2.7% and Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE:LUV) slipping 0.8%.
Banking stocks also struggled, with Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) down 1.1% and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) declining 0.9%.
Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3% to 98.085 and gold futures gained 0.6% to $1,508.25 a troy ounce.