Wall Street stocks plunge in chaotic session

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New York | Updated: February 6, 2018 6:26:38 AM

Wall Street stocks plunged in chaotic trading today, as the Dow's gains for 2018 were erased in a brutal pullback from months of stock market euphoria that had been acclaimed by President Donald Trump.

Dow, US stocks, Dow Jones Industrial, Nasdaq CompositeEquity markets in Europe and Asia, along with oil prices, also retreated amid a general aversion towards riskier assets. (Reuters)

Wall Street stocks plunged in chaotic trading today, as the Dow’s gains for 2018 were erased in a brutal pullback from months of stock market euphoria that had been acclaimed by President Donald Trump. The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its steepest ever one-day point drop, wiping 4.6 per cent off the value of America’s 30 largest companies to finish at 24,345.75, having at one point plummeted nearly 1,600 points to a low of 23,923.88. Responding to the market sell-off, the White House said Trump was focused on the long-term health of the US economy, claiming the fundamentals were “exceptionally strong.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders cited “strengthening US economic growth, historically low unemployment and increasing wages for American workers.” Since coming to office, Trump has repeatedly touted day-to-day stock market increases as evidence his administration is succeeding. The White House had dubbed it the “Trump bump.”

But Wall Street stocks have been on shaky ground for the last week amid concerns over elevated Treasury bond yields and the likelihood of additional Federal Reserve interest rate hikes this year as the US economy strengthens. During a speech in Ohio, Trump again touted the benefits of his tax cut plan — but dropped his stock reference to the success in the market. Today’s losses, which deepened a decline begun on Friday, erased the 2018 gains for both the Dow and S&P 500, which were bolstered by euphoria over the passage of Trump’s tax cut legislation at the end of 2017. The Nasdaq remained marginally higher on the year.

Equity markets in Europe and Asia, along with oil prices, also retreated amid a general aversion towards riskier assets. “There is nervousness in the air,” observed Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman in a note published early in the afternoon before US markets hit bottom.

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