Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

Wall Street suffers the worst single-day point decline in history

Wall Street suffers the worst single-day point decline in history

Stocks went into free fall on Monday, and the Dow plunged nearly 1,600 points - easily the biggest point decline in history during a trading day. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index sank 1.1 percent.

Shares of Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS Health Corp. slumped almost 3 percent, or $2.03, to $72.32 in afternoon trading on another down day for broader indexes Thursday.

CNNMoney's Fear & Greed Index is flashing "fear", underlining a major shift in market sentiment from a week ago when it was sitting in "extreme greed".

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41.35 points to 24,954.12 shortly after the opening bell.

Stock trading turned volatile over the last several days, breaking an unusually long period of calm, and the market is on track for its fifth loss in the last six days.

The percentage decline on Thursday, 4.2%, wasn't almost as bad as the scary days of the 2008 financial crisis.

Investors were weighing whether the sharp swings were the start of a deeper move down or just clearing the way before a resumption of the aging bull market, which would turn nine on March 9.

"There would be few places to hide from the risk-off atmosphere that is expected to extend its stay in Asian markets today in a significant manner", Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

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Some also question the possible role of computer-driven algorithmic trading in the precipitous declines or even the ramifications of the rise and fall in the value of virtual currencies, notably bitcoin.

Technology shares fell 1.0 per cent, dragging on the Nasdaq, while energy dropped 1.1 per cent as oil prices slumped.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 21 cents to $61.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, it gave up $1.30 to $64.15 per barrel.

US crude fell 1.72 percent to $60.73 per barrel and Brent was last at $64.56, down 1.45 percent on the day.

"The stock market is throwing a tantrum", said Andres Garcia-Amaya, CEO of wealth management firm Zoe Financial.

The potential for greater data use is a big reason CVS said in December it would buy Aetna Inc., which covers more than 22 million people as the nation's third-largest health insurer.

The Dow is up 174.13 points, or 0.7 per cent.

Societe Generale said in a report Wednesday that it sees a clear chain of causality in the recent stock market sell-off: global risk sentiment is driven by US equities, USA equities are driven by USA bond yields and a significant degree by core eurozone yields.

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For the year, the S&P 500 is now down 3.5 percent.

By early afternoon the Dow Jones had tumbled by more than 600 points, while the S&P had shed 2 per cent. The last fall of that size came in August 2011 when investors were fretting over Europe's debt crisis and the debt ceiling impasse in Washington that prompted a US credit rating downgrade.

The Nasdaq composite fell 63.90 points, or 0.9%, to 7,051.98.

Investors remain fearful that signs of rising inflation and higher interest rates could stifle the bull market that has pushed stocks to record high after record high in recent years.

The S&P 500 is down 80.47 points, or 2.9 per cent. Investors are anxious about evidence of rising inflation in the U.S. Increased inflation might push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more quickly, which could slow down economic growth by making it make it more expensive for people and businesses to borrow money. As a result, the biggest losses went to high-dividend companies such as utility and real estate companies whose stocks become less appealing than bonds to investors seeking income. But it was nowhere close to the destruction on Black Monday in 1987 or the financial crisis of 2008.

The S&P 500 is up 8.05 points, or 0.3 per cent.

It is also important to note that some people who don't directly own stocks are still affected by the market's performance.

Oil prices were down after data showed US crude output had reached record highs and the North Sea's largest crude pipeline reopened following an outage. A drop of 10 percent from a peak is referred to on Wall Street as a "correction".

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