Dow plunges 831 points as interest rate jitters persist
The Wall Street bull got bloodied and battered Wednesday as the stock market suffered its biggest sell-off since February. Investors bailed out of the market as fears about the economic fallout caused by rising interest rates and the U.S. trade conflict with China spooked them. Technology stocks, which had been leading the market higher for most of 2018 and had gotten pricey, were the hardest hit. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite fell 4.1 percent. “These developments are telling us that the investment environment has become riskier,” says Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged nearly 832 points, 831.83, or 3.2 percent, to 25,599. The performance marked the blue-chip average’s worst one-day decline since a drop of more than 1,000 points on Feb. 8. Growing concerns about the impact of higher borrowing costs on corporate earnings and consumer spending prompted investors to dump shares. “Fear is rising,” says David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors in Sarasota, Florida. “Investors are getting a wake-up call.” Kotok went as far as to predict that a full-fledged market “correction,” or drop of 10 percent, is underway. After its drop of more than 3 percent Wednesday, the broad U.S. market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500, is now 4.9 percent off its Sept. 20 record high. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note – a U.S. government bond that affects the pricing of things ranging from fixed-rate mortgages to stocks – hit a seven-year high of 3.26 percent earlier Wednesday. Higher interest rates make stocks less attractive relative to other investments, including bonds, which offer higher and more competitive yields and carry lower risk. In the recent slide that began late last week, the Dow has given back nearly 1,200 points, or 4.6 percent since its most recent peak. The major worry weighing on stocks is that economic growth will slow if borrowing costs continue to spike, analysts say. While the U.S. economy grew at a 4.2 percent pace in the second quarter, worries about the slowing economic growth around the world are growing. The S&P 500 stock index fell 3.3 percent, down for its fifth consecutive session and marking its longest losing streak since November 2016. The market decline comes ahead of the third-quarter earnings season, which kicks off Friday.
One of the major worries for investors is that economic growth will slow if borrowing costs continue to spike.