Technology companies lead another sharp drop in US stocks

U.S. stocks fell sharply Friday, erasing an early gain, as the market closed in on its third weekly decline in four weeks.

The latest wave of selling sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 500 points. The blue chip average is now down more than 1,000 points this week.

Losses in technology and health care stocks accounted for much of the market’s slide. Retailers and other consumer-focused companies, banks and industrial stocks also took heavy losses.

Utilities, which investors favor when they’re fearful, eked out a slight gain. Crude oil prices rose on news that OPEC members agreed to cut production next year.

The government said job growth in November fell short of economists’ expectations.

The S&P 500 index fell 61 points, or 2.3 percent, to 2,634 as of 2:44 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow dropped 567 points, or 2.3 percent, to 24,380.

The Nasdaq composite slid 198 points, or 2.8 percent, to 6,989. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gave up 26 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,450.

The S&P 500 and Dow are now in the red for the year. The Nasdaq was holding on to a modest gain.

“We’re in a market where investors just want to sell any upside that they see,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. “The volatility we’ve seen the last couple of weeks has been pretty extreme in both directions.”

The benchmark S&P 500 was on track to cap a turbulent week of trading with its third weekly drop in four weeks. That would represent a big swing from just last week, when the index had its best weekly gain in nearly seven years.

Volatility has gripped the market since early October, reflecting investors’ worries that the Federal Reserve might overshoot with its campaign of rate increases and

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