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Stocks stumble on lacklustre economic news, weaker airline shares; Dow drops 109 points

U.S. stocks are closing sharply lower as lacklustre news about the economy and declines in airline stocks weigh on the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell by more than 100 points for the second straight day on Thursday. It ended down 109 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 16,734. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 13 points, also 0.7 per cent, to 1,930. The Nasdaq dropped 34 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,297.

Consumer spending rose 0.3 per cent last month, the government said Thursday, just shy of the 0.4 per cent increase that economists expected.

Energy stocks rose on fears that insurgent victories in Iraq could disrupt global oil supplies.

Higher crude prices helped push down airline stocks. Delta Air Lines fell 5.4 per cent, the most in the S&P 500 index.

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