Wall Street tumbles on global woes and oil prices

US stocks sank yesterday as investors dumped risky assets on escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula and as Eurozone debt worries mounted.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 142.21 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 11,036.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 17.11 points, or 1.43 per cent, to 1,180.73. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 37.07 points, or 1.46 per cent, to 2,494.95.

The unexpected flare-up in Korea increased investor anxiety. The CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose 12.3 per cent, its largest daily percentage gain in more than three months.

Declining stocks far outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a ratio of about seven to two, while three stocks fell for every share that rose on the Nasdaq.

The energy sector of the S&P 500 led declines, down 1.9 per cent as US oil futures prices fell 0.6 per cent to settle at $81.25 a barrel.

Oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil, each down about two per cent, made up 15.5 per cent of the drop in the Dow.