Slowdowns in car sales, manufacturing, home sales, and job creation collectively shook the stock market. Both the Dow and S&P 500 fell more than 2 percent Wednesday.
The average price of gas was $3.85 a gallon for the week that ended Monday. The number of automotive travelers during Memorial Day weekend is expected to be about the same as a year ago.
Stock prices slide more than 1 percent in Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Investors expect stock prices to go lower, analyst says.
Fuel-efficient cars – like Chevy's Cruze, Hyundai's Elantra, and Ford's Focus – led an estimated 19 percent car sales increase in April. GM says rising gas prices started pushing drivers into fuel-efficient cars in March.
Despite the huge difficulties the Japanese car industry is facing, analysts say automakers will be able to recover in the year ahead.
Stocks on the Dow gained Friday. But the Dow average closed lower for the week, which turned out to be tumultuous for stocks.
Stocks fall in US with Dow and S&P 500 dropping about half a percentage point. But drop in stock prices bigger in Europe and much larger in Japan.
A massive earthquake and tsunami have accomplished what Japan's fiscal policy and central bank could not. Rebuilding a large swath of Japan will stimulate domestic growth and global demand, energy-efficient technologies, while helping to integrate China and Japan.