The overall market is down after a weak April jobs report this morning, but crude oil prices are tumbling even more than stocks.
In midday trading West Texas crude futures fell $4.84, or 4.7%, to $97.70 per barrel.
Numerous oil stocks are trading lower, with explorer Southwestern Energy (SWN) falling 8%.
Employment numbers tend to forecast oil demand. With the labor participation rate falling and fewer jobs being added to the economy, U.S. oil demand could suffer in the coming months. In addition, a rule demanding traders put up more collateral for loans may be holding the market back, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Another problematic sign: the Dow Jones Transportation Average, which often trades in an inverse relationship to crude, is also down 1.1%. Clearly, the poor economic news is outweighing any benefit the stocks might get from a decrease in oil prices.