Global markets misery as Dow Jones' 2018 gains are erased

US stocks fell sharply at the open
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29 October, 2018

Earlier in the day, Twitter surged 15 percent in its biggest one-day gain in a year after the social media company easily beat Wall Street's revenue and profit estimates.

The Nasdaq composite, with a hefty roster of tech stocks, bore the brunt of the sell-off, leaving it more than 10 percent below its August peak, what Wall Street calls a "correction".

Several companies sustained heavy drops after reporting disappointing quarterly results.

Another torrent of selling gripped Wall Street Wednesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting more than 600 points and extending a losing streak for the benchmark S&P 500 index to a sixth day. The Dow sank 1.7 percent and the S&P 2.3 percent, with the S&P's session low taking it more than 10 percent below its September 20 all-time closing high. Both Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc dropped 2.3 percent and Apple Inc slid 1.5 percent.

Amazon slumped 8.6 per cent and Google's parent company, Alphabet, gave back 3.8 per cent.

USA stocks plunged again on Wednesday, confirming a correction for the Nasdaq and erasing the Dow and the S&P 500's gains for the year, as disappointing forecasts from chipmakers and weak home sales data fueled jitters about economic and profit growth.

The Dow is down 860.92 points, or 3.4 percent. The stock fell as much as 5.6 per cent before recovering to end down just 1.8 per cent. Within that group around 180 stocks are now in bear market territory, with their shares having lost more than 20 percent of their value since hitting their 52-week high.

About 24 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported third-quarter results as of Wednesday.

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Benchmark U.S. crude lost 6 cents to $66.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the Nasdaq's biggest drop since August 2011, but it's still up 3 percent for the year.

The S&P 500 rose 61 points, or 2.3 percent, to 2,717.

On today the stock market looked the way it has looked for most of this year: high-tech and consumer-focused companies lead the way while steadier, defensive stocks that pay big dividends weren't doing much, or lost ground.

While third-quarter profit growth estimates have risen to 22.4 percent from 21.6 percent in the last 10 days, weaker forecasts have pulled down fourth-quarter growth estimates to 19.5 percent from 20 percent, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Despite the tumbling stock prices, the USA economy looks solid. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.14 percent from 3.12 percent. Amazon sank 7.8 percent to $1,642.81 while Alphabet fell 1.8 percent to $1,083.75. Brent crude, the benchmark for worldwide oil prices, rose 0.9 percent to $76.89 a barrel.

Investors are also facing the expectation of higher USA interest rates, which would boost borrowing costs for not only United States firms and consumers but also many struggling emerging market economies with dollar-linked debt.

The dollar rose to 112.27 yen from 112.23 yen. Heating oil added 1.2 percent to $2.28 a gallon and natural gas gained 1.1 percent to $3.20 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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