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Stocks plunge again on wide selling; Dow drops another 546

Stocks plunge again on wide selling; Dow drops another 546

October 12th, 2018 in Business

Trader Thomas Ferrigno works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. U.S. stocks are mostly lower in unsteady trading one day after their biggest drop since February. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks sank more than 2 percent Thursday, 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 percent is the biggest for Dow since February. The S&P 500 is also down more than 5 percent 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 favorites 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 U.S. 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 percent, to 2,728.37, its lowest close in three months. The index fell 3.3 percent Wednesday and has declined 6.7 percent during its current losing streak. That’s its steepest downturn since a 10-percent drop in early February.

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