Technology and financial companies helped pull U.S. stocks broadly lower Thursday, marking the fourth straight loss for the S&P 500. The benchmark index is now on track for its first weekly drop since January.
Losses in health care stocks and big retailers also weighed on the market. Utilities eked out a gain as investors sought out safer holdings.
With fourth-quarter earnings having wound down and lingering uncertainty over trade talks between the U.S. and China, traders have had little reason to extend the gains the market has made since early this year.
The wave of selling on Wall Street followed a sell-off in European indexes after the European Central Bank delayed its next interest rate hike and announced a new round of cheap loans for banks. Traders saw the move as an acknowledgement of weaker economic growth by the central bank, stoking investors’ worries that the global economy is slowing.
The S&P 500 declined 22.52 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,748.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 200.23 points, or 0.8 percent, to 25,473.23. The average was briefly down more than 320 points.
The Nasdaq composite dropped 84.46 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,421.46. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 13.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,523.63. European indexes finished lower.
A lack of concrete news on trade and lingering economic concerns have been weighing on stocks all week.
Investor optimism about progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China appears to be waning. Media reports have signaled that a deal could be struck this month, but there is less confidence in any of the major issues being resolved.