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

Yolanda Curtis
February 9, 2018

BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals were each more than two per cent stronger, and Rio Tinto was 3.3 per cent higher ahead of the release of its annual results later on Wednesday.

Corrections are seen as entirely normal occurrences, and the market, now in its second-longest bull run of all time, has not seen one in two years, an unusually long time.

The Dow plunged 1,032.89 points, or 4.2 percent, to 23,860.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, a broader market barometer that many index funds track, climbed 25 points, or 1 percent, to 2,674.

The Nasdaq composite lost 212 points, or 3 percent, to 6,838. US crude oil fell 1.2 percent to settle at $63.39 a barrel, while Brent dropped 1.1% to settle at $66.86. Over $5 trillion has been wiped from global stock markets since January 26, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Year to date, the Dow is down 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 is down 1.3 percent.

After huge gains in the first weeks of this year, stocks started to tumble last Friday after the Labor Department said workers' wages grew at a fast rate in January. The move was a break from many months of relative calmness and left market participants grappling with the implosion of products that bet against volatility.

The dive extends a sell-off that started last week, as investors started to worry that inflation might rise more quickly than expected, leading policymakers to raise interest rates. Those stocks are often seen as substitutes for bonds because they tend not to fluctuate that much in price and provide steady income.

By Cormac Mullen Asian stocks fell Friday following a plunge in their United States counterparts as the dread that gripped equity markets earlier in the week re-emerged, amid concern rising interest rates will drag down economic growth.

Some investors, however, fear the market is over-stretched in the context of higher inflation and rising bond yields as central banks withdraw their easy money policies of recent years. A correction is defined as a decline of at least 10% from a recent peak. "A very crowded trade, it just took a while to unwind that", said John Lynch, Chief Investment Strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. Copper lost 1.30% to $7,075.85 a tonne.

Another safe haven - gold - was up for the fourth day in the last five, to $1,340 United States an ounce.

Activity was similarly volatile on the bond market. Germany's DAX declined 2.6 percent.

The losses, which began last Friday, put the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index nearly 8 percent below the record high it set two weeks ago.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.24 percent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index based in Tokyo was down 4.7% when it closed Tuesday after a rollercoaster day.

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