Stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Thursday after showing a lack of direction early in the session. A batch of disappointing U.S. economic data inspired traders to cash in on the gains seen over the past two weeks.
Resource stocks helped to lead the markets lower, as commodities prices came under pressure amid concerns about the economic outlook.
Substantial weakness was visible among gold stocks, which moved sharply lower along with the price of the precious metal. With gold for August delivery tumbling $50.30 to $1,565.50 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index plummeted by 5.3 percent.
Oil service stocks also saw significant weakness on the day, resulting in a 5.4 percent drop by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. The losses by oil service stocks came as crude for August delivery slid $3.25 to $78.20 a barrel.
Technology stocks also came under considerable selling pressure, contributing to the sharp drop by the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Electronic storage, semiconductor, and networking stocks turned in some of the tech sector's worst performances.
Most of the other major sectors also showed notable moves to the downside, reflecting broad based weakness on Wall Street. Brokerage, chemical, and housing stocks posted particularly steep losses.
The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow plunged 250.82 points or 2 percent to 12,573.57, the Nasdaq tumbled 71.36 points or 2.4 percent to 2,859.09 and the S&P 500 plunged 30.18 points or 2.2 percent to 1,325.51.
by RTT Staff Writer
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