U.S. Stocks Extend Slide as Nasdaq Enters Bear Market
U.S. stocks experienced yet another 180-turn on Friday, as the major indexes declined sharply in the latter half of the session with the Nasdaq a entering bear market for the first time since 2009. A stronger dollar pushed gold prices down for the first time this week.
Stocks on Wall Street opened higher on Friday before taking another turbulent turn lower. By the end of trading, all major benchmarks had reported significant losses. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index posted the biggest loss percentage-wise, losing 3% to close at 6,332.99. With the loss, the Nasdaq has officially entered into a bear market, which is normally defined as a loss of 20% or more from a recent high. Over the past month, the index is down a whopping 9.2%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 414.87 points, or 1.8%, to finish at 22,444.73. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and American Express Co (AXP) were the biggest losers on the day.
The broad S&P 500 Index fell 2.1% to 2,416.4, all 11 primary sectors finishing lower. Communications services and information technology were the biggest laggards, falling 3.2% and 3%, respectively.
All three indexes settled at more than one-year lows, extending a fourth-quarter selloff that has obliterated the bull market.
Bullion experienced a corrective pullback Friday following a string of gains that drove prices to six-month highs. Gold for February settlement fell $9.70, or 0.8%, to $1,258.20 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Silver and other metals fell in lockstep with bullion at the end of the week. March silver contracts declined 19 cents, or 1.3%, to $14.68 a troy ounce. Platinum spot fell $6.66, or 0.8%, to $788.52 a troy ounce.
Precious metals were under pressure from a rebounding U.S. dollar on the heels of fresh monthly lows. The dollar index (DXY), which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six peers, rose 0.8% to 97.02.
Turmoil in Washington and the growing probability of a government shutdown exacerbated the market downtrend on Friday. President Donald Trump has vowed a “very long” shutdown of government services if the Democrats do not fund a $5.7 billion border wall.
“I hope we don’t but we are totally prepared for a very long shutdown,” Trump said Friday.
The border wall was one of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises to curb illegal immigration. There were nearly 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. as of 2016, according to the PEW Research Center. Some estimates place the actual number much higher.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.