Dow ends 2.0% lower amid fears of US government shutdown

Dow ends 2.0% lower amid fears of US government shutdown

The benchmark S&P 500 index, already on pace for its biggest percentage decline in December since the Great Depression, hit its lowest level since July 2017.

The Nasdaq fell 180 points, or 2.8 percent, to 6,452.

The Dow slipped as far as 679 points during Thursday's trading session. The index broke 23,000 in its downward slide for the first time in over a year on Thursday and shows no sign of bouncing back anytime soon, having lost a total of 1,655 points in its worst week since October 2008.

The S&P 500 .SPX , the benchmark for US stocks, is not yet in a bear market, though more than 60 percent of its components are. Volume on USA exchanges was 15.18 billion shares, its highest level in almost two-and-a-half years, compared to the 8.81 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

An immediate sell-off followed the announcement, with the Dow falling by more than 500 points during Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's press conference. The benchmark S&P 500 index is in what Wall Street calls a correction, and is headed toward a bear market, threatening to end the more than 9-year US bull market run.

Another miserable day on Wall Street knocked 464 points off the Dow Jones Industrial average, bringing its losses since Friday to more than 1,700 points.

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After years of gains, U.S. investors are fleeing stocks, anxious about a range of factors likely to hit corporate profits, including slowing economic growth domestically and overseas. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite is now down 19.5 percent from the record high it reached in August. Amazon gave up 2.8 percent.

In France, the CAC 40 lost 1.8 percent and Germany's DAX fell 1.4 percent.

The Russell 2000 is down 209.51 points, or 13.6 percent.

Nike jumped 8.1 percent after reporting strong quarterly results. That sent the price of gold higher, and it gained 0.9 percent to $1,267.9 an ounce. Natural gas jumped 6.5 percent to $3.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Stocks initially rallied in the early going Friday, especially after New York Fed President John Williams told reporters the central bank will listen to what the market says and consider re-evaluating its outlook for two rate hikes.

On Friday the price of USA crude slipped 0.6 percent to $45.59 a barrel in NY. When the 10-year yield falls below the two-year yield, investors call it an "inverted yield curve".

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