Shares of major oil producers fell Wednesday as crude oil prices hit their lowest levels since late June and a report on the services industry raised new concern that the economy is faltering.
As the Energy Department reported rising supplies of crude oil and gasoline, the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped $2.10 to $91.69 a barrel in midday trading. In London, Brent crude also fell.
There were more reports that hinted at a pullback in consumer spending. Factory orders fell, and the Institute for Supply Management said the service industry grew in July at the slowest rate in 17 months. That's crucial because services -- everything from medical offices to coffee shops-- employ nearly 90 percent of the U.S. work force.
Among major oil producers, Marathon Oil Corp. was the biggest percentage loser in midday trading, down $2.06, or 7.1 percent, to $27.06 on heavy trading volume.
Credit Suisse downgraded Marathon to "Neutral" from "Outperform," and that helped push the shares down farther than other oil stocks.
Exxon Mobil Corp. was down $1.26, or 1.6 percent, to $76.58; Chevron Corp. was off $2.34, or 2.3 percent, to $101.11; Royal Dutch Shell fell $2.47, or 3.5 percent, to $69.04; Occidental Petroleum Corp. lost $2.35, or 2.5 percent, to $92.25; Apache Corp. dropped $2.88, or 2.4 percent, to $117.14; and EOG Resources Inc. fell $2.63, or 2.7 percent, to $96.58.