Blip or downturn? What the stock market meltdown means for your money

The turbulence that roiled investors mid week continued into Thursday, with U.S. indices see-sawing between gains and losses amid a global stock market rout.This followed an 800-point decline by the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday, the index’s third-worst point plunge in history, and a four-percentage drop by the Nasdaq, the steepest percentage decline since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.Story continues belowREAD MORE: Global stock markets tumble amid rising U.S. interest rate fearsAll of this happened without an apparent reason. Puzzled analysts have been pointing to growing concern about rising interest rates and trade tensions between the U.S. and China, but there was no headline or economic data release on Wednesday they could point to as a possible trigger for the selloff.So what is happening and what does it mean for small investors whose retirement money is tied up in the stock market?Stock market watchers have very different takes on what’s going on.READ MORE: Jeff Bezos, other tech moguls lost billions in stock market plunge“We think this is just the start of a downward trend,” Murray Gunn of Elliott Wave International told Global News via telephone.“When things like this happen, it’s a sign that the social mood is transitioning from positive to negative,” he added.Gunn sees this as the beginning of a downward trend that could last several months and perhaps, he says, “a couple of years.”WATCH: U.S. stock market sees worst decline in six years

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