Speculation faulted: Billionaire financier George Soros and Gerry Ramm, president of the Inland Oil Co. of Ephrata, Wash., delivered the same message Tuesday to the Senate Commerce Committee: Rampant speculation has helped spur out-of-control crude oil prices. Others testifying at the hearing said speculation may be responsible for more than half of the skyrocketing price of crude oil.
Oil prices fall: They dropped below $124 a barrel Tuesday as demand concerns grew. Light, sweet crude for July delivery fell $3.45 to settle at $124.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices dipped as low as $123.87 in after-hours electronic trading. Prices peaked at $135.09 on May 22; Tuesday's was $10.78, or 8 percent, below that record.
Rate cuts over? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested Tuesday that the time for cutting interest rates is over in view of soaring oil and commodity prices and a weakened dollar. On Wall Street, stocks tumbled as investors grew more fearful about credit stresses at financial companies. The Dow Jones industrials sank 100.97 points.