With traders reacting negatively to a disappointing batch of U.S. economic data, stocks have moved sharply lower during trading on Thursday. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session.
Much of the weakness on Wall Street stems from the release of the weaker than expected economic data, including reports showing a bigger than expected drop in existing home sales and a further contraction in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity.
While some recent disappointing data generated optimism about further stimulus, today's reports were greeted negatively by traders now that the Federal Reserve meeting is in the rear-view mirror.
Resource stocks have helped to lead the way lower, as commodities prices have come under pressure amid concerns about the economic outlook. With the price of gold falling by more than $50 an ounce, gold stocks are posting particularly steep losses.
Technology stocks have also come under considerable selling pressure, contributing to a sharp drop by the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Electronic storage, networking, and semiconductor stocks are turning in some of the worst performances.
Most of the other major sectors have also moved to the downside on the day, with chemical, brokerage, and housing stocks seeing substantial weakness.
The major averages have edged up off their lows for the session in the past few minutes but continue to post steep losses. The Dow is down 176.15 points or 1.4 percent at 12,648.24, the Nasdaq is down 52.73 points or 1.8 percent at 2,877.72 and the S&P 500 is down 21.75 points or 1.6 percent at 1,333.94.
by RTT Staff Writer
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