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December 14, 2017
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wall Street's major indexes end down, but well off session lows

US stocks fell today on continued worries about weak global demand, but managed to close well above session lows that briefly pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into negative territory for the year.

Small-caps and energy shares, which have been among the market's weakest performers, provided some of the late-day support, with the Russell 2000 index ending up 1 percent and the S&P energy index up 0.4 percent.

Adding to the day's worries, a second nurse in Texas tested positive for the Ebola virus, a week after Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States, died.

The day's losses threatened to wipe out 2014 gains for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, with the S&P 500 down more than 3 percent at its low. The Dow industrials fell further into the red for the year, down for the fifth consecutive session.

The S&P 500 is now down 7.4 percent from its Sept. 18 record closing high, and is up just 0.8 percent for the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 173.45 points, or 1.06 percent, to 16,141.74, the S&P 500 lost 15.21 points, or 0.81 percent, to 1,862.49 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.85 points, or 0.28 percent, to 4,215.32.

Options activity has spiked along with the market's slide. Total options volume at the close on Wednesday was 33 million contracts, the busiest day since Aug. 8, 2011, according to Trade Alert.

EUROPEAN MARKETS

A sell-off in European stocks accelerated, with a key index suffering its biggest one-day slide in nearly three years as investors slashed exposure to risky assets on mounting worries about global growth.

The slump represented a wipe-off in market value of about $255 billion for European stocks listed on the broad STOXX Europe 600 index. That is more than Portugal's GDP and more than the entire market capitalisation of Europe's biggest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell.

Shares extended their slide in afternoon trading after data showed US retail sales declined in September and prices paid by businesses fell, fuelling concern that consumer demand may be faltering while inflation is failing to gain traction.

Greek equities were among the biggest losers, as Athens's benchmark ATG index succumbed to a second day of selling pressure and sank 6.3 percent. Traders cited political uncertainty and a spike in Greek 10-year bond yields, which rose above 7.6 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 3.2 percent lower at 1,251.87 points, a level not seen since last December. It was the benchmark's biggest one-day slide since late 2011.

The index has tumbled 11 percent since mid-September as doubts about the strength of the global economy mount.

After today's slump all major European stock indexes are in negative territory for the year, with Germany's DAX among the worst hit, down 10.3 percent in 2014 and on track to record its worst annual performance since 2011.

ASIAN MARKETS

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average snapped a five-day losing streak, but gains were limited by investor worries about the slowing global economy and the deadly Ebola virus.

The Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to close at 15,073.52 points. Denso climbed 1.7 percent and Shin-etsu Chemical gained 2.6 percent.

Oil shares Inpex Corp and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co underperformed, slipping 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, after a steep fall in oil prices.

The broader Topix was up 0.8 percent at 1,223.67, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also gained 0.7 percent, closing at 11,135.39.

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Tags:  Stocks  shares  FTSEurofirst  Nikkei  US  Dow Jones  





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