A customer refuels her car at a Costco in Robinson Township, Pa.
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Wall Street is drowning in oil.Stocks are having their worst start to a year in history in part because of a rapid plunge in the price of oil. The price of crude is already down 28 percent this year, in turn dragging down energy company shares in the Standard & Poor's 500 index by 13 percent, which has helped pull the overall index down 9 percent.This even though low oil prices – and the cheap prices for gasoline and other fuels that result – are wonderful for consumers and many firms.WHY DO LOW OIL PRICES HURT THE STOCK MARKET?Oil company profits are plummeting, so oil company shares are plummeting, and that is dragging down the whole market.Of the 20 biggest share price losers in the S&P 500 this year, 13 are energy companies.The price of oil has now fallen so low that investors are also worried that it could mean global economic growth is much weaker than expected, which could hurt all companies.AREN'T LOWER OIL PRICES GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY?It depends on why prices are low.
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