US stocks plunge steeply for second day

US stocks have sunk by more than 2%, the second day of steep declines around the globe driven by concerns about rising interest rates and trade tensions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 546 points after dropping 831 points Wednesday. The two-day loss of 5.3% is the biggest for Dow since February.

The S&P 500 is also down more than 5% over the two days and had declined for six straight days.

The selling was widespread. Energy companies sank along with oil prices and CVS lead a rout in health care stocks.

Technology companies and retailers, including longtime market favourites Apple, Alphabet and Amazon, extended their recent slide.

Seeking safety, investors bought gold and government bonds. That pushed prices up and yields down, ending a surge in yields that had touched off the market’s current decline. But investors found more things to worry about.

There are ongoing concerns about the unresolved trade dispute between the US and China.

Strong earnings reports in the coming weeks could soothe investor nerves, but negative comments from company executives about future profits could have the opposite effect.

Recently a larger-than-normal number of companies have warned that their third-quarter results could be weaker than analysts expected.

The benchmark S&P 500 index rose in morning trading, but ultimately gave up 57.31 points, or 2.1%, to 2,728.37, its lowest close in three months.

The index fell 3.3% on Wednesday and has declined 6.7% during its current losing streak. That is its steepest downturn since a 10-percent drop in early February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 545.91 points, or 2.1%, to 25,052.83 after falling as much as 698. The Nasdaq composite skidded 92.99 points, or 1.3%, to 7,329.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 30.03 points, or 1.9%, to 1,545.38.

Thursday’s losses in the US followed steep declines overseas. France’s CAC 40 and the British FTSE 100 both sank 1.9% and the DAX in Germany lost 1.5%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gave up 3.9% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 3.5%.

The S&P 500’s current decline is the longest since a nine-day fall shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

It has climbed 27.5% since Donald Trump was elected.- Press Association


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