NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — U.S. stocks recovered much of an early plunge, but the price of oil suffered its worst one-day drop since September.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 249 points, or 1.6 percent, to 15,766. It was down as much as 565 earlier.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 22 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,859. The Nasdaq composite slipped five points, or 1 percent, to 4,471.

Energy companies were pummeled as the latest fall in oil threatened more damage to an industry that has been stricken with bankruptcies, layoffs and other cutbacks.

Exxon Mobil fell 4 percent and Chevron fell 3 percent.

Crude fell below $27 a barrel, the lowest price since May 2003 and a far cry from the $100 a barrel it fetched in the summer of 2014.