New York, March 17 (IANS) Wall Street plunged in midday trading Wednesday after the European Union’s energy chief said that the situation at a nuclear plant in Japan could get worse, Xinhua reported.”In the coming hours there could be further catastrophic events, which could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island,” the European media quoted EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger as saying.
Economic reports released Wednesday were less positive. The Commerce Department said that new home construction dropped to the second-lowest level on record in February.
Wholesale prices increased last month due to higher energy costs. Investors worried about possible inflation risks.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 242.12 points, or 2.04 percent, to 11,613.30. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 24.99 points, or 1.95 percent, to 1,256.88. The Nasdaq declined 50.51 points, or 1.89 percent, to 2,616.82.