U.S. stocks close lower as Dow drops nearly 1,400 points in 2 days

U.S. stocks extended losses to finish lower Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing nearly 1,400 points over two days as investors continued to fret over rising bond yields and the prospect of higher interest rates.

How did major benchmarks fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.13% tumbled 545.91 points, or 2.1%, to 25,052.83, bringing its two-day decline to 1,378 points.

The S&P 500 SPX, -2.06% lost 57.31 points, or 2.1%, to 2,728.37. The benchmark fell for a sixth straight day, its longest losing streak since a nine-day drop that ended in November 2016. All 11 primary S&P 500 sectors were lower, led by the energy and financials sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.25% shed 92.99 points, or 1.3%, to 7,329.06 after briefly dropping into correction territory.

All three indexes ended below their 200-day moving averages, a closely watched metric for long-term momentum trends.

The Russell 2000 RUT, -1.91% an index for small caps, finished in correction territory after falling 27.27 points, or 1.7%, to 1,547.83.  

On Wednesday, the Dow and the S&P suffered their biggest one-day drop since February, while the Nasdaq had its biggest slump since June 2016. The decline took the major indexes below key levels, which could be a catalyst for additional selling ahead.

See: Why the stock market tumbled Wednesday, ushering in its worst start to a quarter in about 2 years

What drove the market?

Investors have pinned the selloff on a variety of factors, including a sudden rise in long-dated interest rates since late September. A bond-market selloff saw the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.56%  top 3.26% earlier this week for the first time since April 2011.

Higher yields raise borrowing costs for corporations. They also divert investment away from stocks. Market turmoil, however, appeared to

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