Stocks in the United States had a wild day of trading as worries about economic growth and the continued slump in oil prices weighed on investors.
Markets had been steadily falling all day on Wednesday but staged a turnaround in the last hour of the trading day. At the close of trading, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down about 1 percent, after being off as much as 3.7 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average, which had been down more than 500 points earlier in the day, fell about 250 points, or 1.5 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was nearly unchanged.
The Dow had been hit hard earlier in the day after IBM, one of the 30 blue-chip stocks in the gauge, reported a drop in its fourth-quarter profit after the markets closed on Tuesday.
It has been a month of heavy selling and globally, more than $3.6 trillion has been lost in January, said Howard Silverblatt, a senior index analyst at S.&P. Dow Jones Indices.
“That’s money taken out, even if it’s on paper,” Mr. Silverblatt said.
Traders will be closely scrutinizing earnings of the S.&P. stocks next week to see how 2016 will go, he added.
“If they don’t come through well, there’s not a lot of support there,” he said.
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Oil prices continued their monthslong sell-off, with the price of a barrel of crude oil at the lowest level since May 2003. Crude oil futures were down 6.7 percent on Wednesday to settle at $26.55 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
On Wednesday, Royal Dutch Shell warned that it expected its profit for the fourth quarter of 2015 to be about half of what it was in the comparable period a year earlier.
In addition, traders see no signs of the oil glut easing as Iran now has permission to sell into the world markets now that sanctions have been lifted as part of a nuclear deal.
The worldwide drop in stocks signaled nervousness among global investors despite a sanguine reaction earlier in the week to …Read More
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