Wall Street falls for 2nd day as small caps add to losses
US stocks fell today, giving the Dow and the S&P 500 their worst declines in more than a month, as small-cap shares extended their retreat and Wal-Mart results disappointed.
The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks lost 0.7 percent, well off its session low where it hit correction territory, down more than 10 percent from its early March record close of 1,208.65. It ended down 9.3 percent from that high.
Thursday marked the second day of losses the three major US stock indexes, with volume picking up on S&P 500 e-mini futures, underscoring some views that the selling may continue. At 2.2 million, e-mini futures volume was well above the 1.5 million daily average for the past year.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 167.16 points or 1.01 percent, to end at 16,446.81. The S&P 500 lost 17.68 points or 0.94 percent, to 1,870.85. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 31.33 points or 0.76 percent, to 4,069.29.
With the Dow and the S&P 500 near record highs, the Russell 2000's move raised concern about the strength of the broader market.
The S&P 500 briefly traded below technical support, its 50-day moving average, but ended above that level.
Economic data was mixed, though US industrial output fell at its fastest rate in more than 1-1/2 years in April as factory production slumped, tempering hopes for a big jump in economic growth after a winter slowdown. Initial claims for US jobless benefits hit a seven-year low last week, while consumer prices recorded their biggest increase in 10 months in April, pointing to a firming economy.
News that the Portuguese and Italian economies contracted in the first quarter hit shares in Lisbon and Milan, knocking back European stock markets from multi-year highs.
Italy's FTSE MIB equity index finished 3.6 percent lower, its biggest one-day fall since February 2013, while Portugal's smaller PSI-20 benchmark index fell 2.7 percent.
They helped send the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index down by 0.8 percent to 1,357.51 points, pushing it off a six-year high of 1,372.81 reached earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average dropped on Thursday after a stronger yen hurt sentiment, while Sony Corp and Credit Saison Co weighed as foreign investors unloaded the stocks after their earnings disappointed the market.
The Nikkei ended down 0.8 percent at 14,298.21.
Sony dropped 6.1 percent and was the third most traded stock by turnover after it forecast a net loss for a second year in a row for the year through March.
Credit Saison Co dived 13 percent after releasing disappointing earnings and was the biggest percent loser on the board.
The broader Topix dropped 0.4 percent to 1,178.29, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slipped 0.4 percent to 10,727.94.