Wall St. extends slide with trade and rates in focus

(Reuters) – Wall Street indexes continued their slide in Thursday’s volatile session as investors worried about rising interest rates and braced for a trade war hit to corporate earnings a day ahead of the quarterly reporting season kickoff.

In its sixth consecutive day of declines, the S&P closed down 2.1 percent after shedding 3 percent in Wednesday’s session. But at its session low the benchmark fell 2.7 percent to its lowest level since early July.

The Nasdaq narrowly avoided confirming a correction. During the session it fell as much as 10.3 percent from its Aug. 29 closing record high but ended the day 9.6 percent below the record.

Investors worried that equity markets would have trouble recovering as rising interest rates coincide with uncertainty about how much earnings growth would be hurt by a U.S. trade war with China.

“People fear that it will be harder to snap back if we’re seeing a cyclical top in earnings with those two headwinds, which are not going away,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 545.91 points, or 2.13 percent, to 25,052.83, the S&P 500 lost 57.31 points, or 2.06 percent, to 2,728.37 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 92.99 points, or 1.25 percent, to 7,329.06.

After hitting an intraday high of 28.84, the CBOE Volatility Index, popularly known as the “fear gauge,” ended the day up 2 points at 24.98, its highest close since Feb. 12.

“We saw a rally this morning, and that ended up being a suckers’ rally. Then you had buy-the-dippers coming in here saying this was too much too fast,” said Dennis Dick, proprietary trader at Bright Trading Llc In Las Vegas.

“Are we out of the woods here? I don’t think so,” he said. “You’re going to

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