Dow drops 317, wiping out July gains
NEW YORK -- For investors, there were few havens on Thursday.
The stock market had its worst one-day drop since February, driven down by a confluence of worries, from weak company earnings to the looming end of stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
But it wasn’t just stocks that suffered; oil fell to its lowest level since March, gold dropped and even Treasury notes edged lower.
Stocks started the day lower after a dose of bad earnings news, and the losses accelerated throughout the day.
Whole Foods Market and Exxon Mobil were among companies that fell after reporting results or forecasts that disappointed investors.
The stock market has been on a bull run for more than five years, with the most recent leg of that surge pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to an all-time high a week ago. Investors are now getting concerned that stocks may have climbed too far and reflect too much optimism on the outlook for growth.
"We’ve been on a strong run," said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer at First American Trust. "There’s just more concern that stock valuations are rich compared to historical norms."
The S&P 500 dropped 39.40 points, or 2 percent, to 1,930.67, its biggest loss since April 10. The drop pushed the index to its first monthly loss since January.
The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 317.06 points, or 1.9 percent, to 16,563.30. The Nasdaq composite fell 93.13 points, or 2.1 percent, to 4,369.77. The Russell 2000, an index of small company stocks, plunged 26.50 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,120.07
Exxon Mobil stock fell $4.31, or 4.2 percent, to $98.94 after the energy company said that oil and gas production slipped 6 percent, disappointing analysts. The decline was driven by the expiration of rights to a field in Abu Dhabi and natural field declines.
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