Stocks posted sharp losses Thursday with the Dow shedding 1,032 points, as higher interest rates continued to rattle investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled about 4.15% to 23,860, notching its second-worst point drop in history. The S&P 500 fell 100 points, or 3.75%, to 2,581. The Nasdaq Composite was down 274 points, or 3.9%, at 6,777. The sell-off pushed the Dow and S&P 500 into correction territory, when stocks fall at least 10% from their highs.
U.S. equities extended their losses in a week overtaken by wild swings in the stock market. The Dow, which booked a record-breaking loss of 1,175 points Monday, has shed roughly 2,700 points since Friday amid a brisk retreat from all-time highs. Positive U.S. economic data, such as stronger wage growth and low unemployment, has raised Wall Street’s odds that Federal Reserve policymakers will raise interest rates faster than anticipated.
Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans recently said he continues to expect the U.S. inflation rate to hit the central bank’s 2% goal as soon as the end of 2019, adding that the next increase to interest rates could wait until mid-2018. Still, traders are bracing for more market volatility, wondering if the Fed will hike rates more than three times this year, the current target. The first of those rate hikes is expected in March.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose as high as 2.88%, nearing Monday’s highest level in four years. The benchmark rate was trading around 2.85% Thursday afternoon.
The CBOE Volatility Index, known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” climbed about 20%. The VIX spiked 115% amid the Dow’s historic plunge Monday.
Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance, is telling most clients to stay put, noting that stocks were due for a correction sometime in 2018. Historically, the market goes through a correction of 10% or more every two years. Wall Street’s sharp declines this week have not changed Zaccarelli’s view that market fundamentals, including robust corporate earnings, remain supportive of equities.
“I don’t believe the bull market ended on Jan. 26,” he said.
Alan Knuckman, market strategist at Agora Financial, argued that market volatility was relatively tame Thursday. The VIX settled at 33.46 after shooting above 50 earlier this week, the highest mark since August 2015.
“Volatility is nowhere near where it was,” Knuckman told FOX Business’s Neil Cavuto on “Coast to Coast,” adding that corporate profit growth will allow stock prices to rise in the long-run. “The fear factor isn’t there. The market is more stable.”
The Dow remains 18.9% higher over the past 12 months. The broader S&P 500, which posted its third-largest point decline on record Thursday, is up 12.3% over the same period.
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) shares flew 12% higher after the social media company reported its first-ever quarterly profit. Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM), the parent company of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, slipped 4% despite beating analysts’ earnings estimate.
West Texas Intermediate oil futures fell 64 cents, or 1%, to $61.15 a barrel.
Gold prices jumped $4.40, or 0.3%, to $1,319 an ounce, rebounding after a 1% drop the prior day.