Stocks sank Wednesday as a sharp drop in the price of oil dragged down energy companies. U.S. crude closed below $40 a barrel for the first time since August after the government reported a surprise jump in inventories, suggesting slack demand.

Stocks sank Wednesday as a sharp drop in the price of oil dragged down energy companies. U.S. crude closed below $40 a barrel for the first time since August after the government reported a surprise jump in inventories, suggesting slack demand.

For Wednesday:

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 158.67 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,729.68.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 23.12 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,079.51.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 33.08 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,123.22.

For the week:

The Dow is down 68.81 points, or 0.4 percent.

The S&P 500 is down 10.60 points, or 0.5 percent.

The Nasdaq composite is down 4.30 points, or 0.1 percent.

For the year:

The Dow is down 93.39 points, or 0.5 percent.

The S&P is up 20.61 points, or 1 percent.

The Nasdaq is up 387.17 points, or 8.2 percent.