Stocks ended lower Wednesday, extending losses from the previous session, as oil briefly crossed the $100 mark and investors continued to worry over over the political unrest in Libya.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 107.01 points, or 0.88 percent, to close at 12105.78, largely weighed by losses from Hewlett-Packard . The blue-chip index plunged almost 180 points in the previous session—its biggest point and percent drop since Nov. 16.
General Electric and Intel were also lower on the Dow, while Chevron and ExxonMobil gained.
The S&P 500 slipped 8.04 points, or 0.61 percent, to end at 1307.40. And the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 33.43 points, or 1.21 percent, to finish at 2722.99. Both indices fell more than 2 percent in the previous session.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, jumped another 5 percent to rise near 22, after soaring almost 30 percent in the previous session—its largest one-day gain since May.
Among the key S&P 500 sectors, industrials, techs and consumer discretionarieslagged while energy and utilities were higher.
Oil prices rose for a second day and settled at their highest in nearly 2-1/2 yearsabove $98 a barrel, as escalating violence in Libya shook crude markets and extended supply worries. Gold prices soared above $1,410 an ounce.
Major oil giants were trading higher across the board including Petrobras and ConocoPhillips .
In addition to the turmoil in the Middle East, Steven Roge, portfolio manager at RW Roge & Co. cautioned that markets are due for "another European scare."
“We think fair value on the S&P is 900 but the likely scenario is that the market is not going to drop drastically to [that level],” he told CNBC. “We think the fundamentals of economy will eventually catch up and the markets will trend sideways. But with a lot of volatility, worries over agricultural prices and worries about Greece coming back every six months, we’re due for another Europe scare.”
Meanwhile, David Katz, CIO of Matrix Asset Advisors said he still sees markets heading higher by year-end, despite the headline risks and volatility.