NEW YORK, Mar.15 -- U.S. stocks dropped on Monday as investors worried about the escalating devastation in Japan.
With the situation in Japan getting worse, investors worried that the earthquake and ensuing tsunami would have a great negative impact on the recovery of the world's third largest economy, especially after explosions at a Japanese nuclear plant.
Shares in the nuclear industry were hit most on Monday. Entergy Corp. lost 4.89 percent to 70.09 dollars.
General Electric Co., which has combined nuclear ventures with Hitachi Ltd. of Japan, fell 2.16 percent to 19.92 dollars.
Japanese shares traded in New York dropped as well. Toyota Motor Co., which said it would suspend production at all its Japanese car plants, dropped 4.58 percent to 81.73.
In addition, stocks of luxury goods declined on Monday since Japan accounts for 11 percent of global luxury sales. Tiffany & Co. lost 5.27 percent to 59.86 dollars. Coach Inc. lost 5.3 percent to 53.11 dollars.
Most investors would like to put their money in safe haven items, such as metal, to protect against the possible negative impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. That was why gold prices settled tentatively higher on Monday.
Some others might sold gold to cover their losses in other assets, and they might buy more on the stock market simply to gamble for more profits.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged around 6 percent on Monday, wiping out this year' s gains, underlining investors' concerns over how much the economy might suffer from the disaster.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil price rose slightly on Monday after a choppy trading session as concerns about the Middle East remained, amid the lower demand expectation caused by the disaster in Japan.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 51.24 points, or 0.43 percent, to 11,993.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 7. 89 points, or 0.60 percent, to 1,296.39. The Nasdaq declined 14.64 points, or 0.54 percent, to 2,700.97.