NEW YORK — Stocks closed lower Tuesday as concerns grew about the impact of high fuel costs on consumers and corporate profits.
Wall Street's overriding concern is that expensive energy will prevent the economy from growing and will aggravate inflation at the same time.
Given the anemic economy, the Federal Reserve has little wiggle room to combat inflation with higher interest rates. Fed policymakers, whose rate-setting meeting ends today, are expected to hold their key rate at 2 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 34.93, or 0.29 percent, to 11,807.43. The S&P 500 lost 3.71, or 0.28 percent, to 1,314.29. The Nasdaq composite index fell 17.46, or 0.73 percent, to 2,368.28.
Dow Chemical set to raise prices again
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dow Chemical Co. announced its second set of wide-ranging price increases in less than a month, again trying to offset record costs for energy and raw materials.
Dow said it will raise the prices of its products as much as 25 percent in July after making across-the-board increases up to 20 percent June 1. Its products are sold in 160 countries.
When Dow raises prices, the increase is felt across dozens of industries that buy its chemicals and plastics to make products ranging from diapers to automobiles.
320,000 Jardine cribs are recalled
WASHINGTON — About 320,000 Jardine cribs sold by Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores were recalled Tuesday because four children became trapped.
The wooden slats and spindles on the crib frames can break, allowing children to get trapped in the remaining gap. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 42 incidents of broken slats and spindles. This includes four instances of children getting trapped, two of whom suffered cuts and bruises.
The cribs were sold between January 2002 through May 2008.
For more information on the specific Jardine crib styles included in the recall, call 800-646-4106.
Survey: Economy to pick up in 2009
WASHINGTON — After anemic growth in 2008, Wall Street economists expect U.S. economic growth to accelerate next year, according to a survey released Tuesday by a financial industry group.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association survey found that 18 senior bank and brokerage economists expect the U.S. economy to grow at a 2.2 percent rate in 2009, double this year's projected pace.
The economists also expect housing prices to hit bottom in 2009 and home sales to begin rising in the second half of this year.
Delta, Northwest nearing pilot pact
ATLANTA — Delta and Northwest pilot negotiators say they have a tentative agreement with Delta management on a joint contract to cover both pilot groups when the companies combine later this year.
Delta's pilots union said Tuesday that the agreement is between the two pilot groups and Delta management. Terms were not disclosed. Next, the pilot groups will seek an agreement on a merged seniority list.
The joint contract agreement covers roughly 12,000 pilots from both airlines.