U.S. stocks ended Thursday with the worst declines in more than five weeks, with the S&P 500 closing below a key technical level and turning negative year-to-date. Investors flocked to safety, bidding up Treasurys.
Strategists pointed to stretched fundamentals that made the market ready for an overdue correction. Technology and industrial sector stocks led the losses on the benchmark while all 30 components of the Dow industrials finished the day lower.
The S&P 500 closed 21.86 points, or 1.2%, lower at 1,846.34 and erased modest gains for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 231.19 points, or 1.4%, to 16,108.89, falling for the fourth consecutive day. The Nasdaq Composite shed 62.91 points, or 1.5%, at 4,260.42.
As selling of stocks intensified, traders sought safe havens. Gold nudged up, while Treasurys rallied. The yield on the 10-year note dropped 8 basis points to 2.65% as investors bought up government debt. The implied volatility on the S&P 500 as measured by the CBOE Vix index, dubbed “Wall Street fear gauge” jumped 12.1% to the highest level since early February.
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