U.S. stocks suffered big losses Friday to end the week lower, as continuously sinking crude prices rocked market sentiment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 315.51 points, or 1.79 percent, to 17,280.83. The S&P 500 lost 33.00 points, or 1.62 percent, to 2,002.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 54.56 points, or 1.16 percent, to 4,653.60.
The Dow and the S&P 500 dipped to the lowest levels since October, both snapping a seven-week gaining streak, down 3.8 percent and 3.5 percent in the week, respectively. It is their worst week for 2014. The Nasdaq also went down 2.7 percent for the week.
U.S. crude futures for January delivery settled below 58 U.S. dollars per barrel Friday, deepening losses after falling below the 60 dollars on Thursday for the first time since July 2009.
The recent decline in oil prices was triggered by supply glut concerns. In its Oil Market Report for December released on Friday, the International Energy Agency cut the outlook for 2015 global oil demand growth by 230,000 barrels per day to 900,000 barrels per day on expectations of lower fuel consumption in Russia and other oil-exporting countries.
Earlier this week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also cut its forecast for crude demand next year.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery moved down 2.14 dollars to settle at 57.81 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, while Brent crude for January delivery lost 1. 83 dollars to close at 61.85 dollars a barrel.
U.S. consumer sentiment which should benefit from lower crude prices came out upbeat, but failed to provide upward jolts to the stock market. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary December reading of the consumer sentiment index hit 93.8, the highest level in nearly eight years, beating market consensus.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Producer Price Index for final demand fell at a deeper-than-expected 0.2 percent in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, led by decreasing energy prices, said the U.S. Labor Department.
Stocks were also under pressure from weak Chinese data. China's industrial output grew 7.2 percent year on year in November, down from a 7.7-percent increase in October and 8-percent growth in September, Chinese official data showed on Friday.
On the previous trading day, U.S. stocks closed in positive territory, as investors embraced encouraging economic data from the country while assessing implications of dipping oil prices.
The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street's fear gauge, jumped 4.98 percent to finish at 21.08 on Friday.
In other markets, gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange continued to lose ground Friday, with the most active gold contract for February delivery down 3.1 dollars, or 0.25 percent, to settle at 1,222.5 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar declined against most major currencies on Friday after Thursday's strengthening. In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.2451 dollars from 1.2383 dollars in the previous session, and the U.S. dollar bought 118.75 Japanese yen, lower than 119.09 yen of the previous session.