Price Change: -2.05 percent
Trading Volume: 4.36 billion shares
VIX Index: 20.8
Trigger: Libyan Turmoil
The escalating unrest in Libya, where ruler Muammar Gaddafi vowed to crush any revolution, lifted April crude oil futures more than 8.5 percent, a high for the year that still has not been surpassed. This sent stocks tumbling, on what was then the second heaviest volume day of the year.
Until this point, the chain of civil unrest in Arab states - which included the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – had not impacted any major exporter of crude. Events in Libya, however, raised concerns that unrest could disrupt the flow of oil from other key producing countries.