Stocks plunge; Dow has biggest point loss in history

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The rout - which saw the Dow Jones industrial average fall as much 1,500 points in intraday trading - followed the steep sell-off in US markets Friday and sharp declines in European and Asian markets.

On Monday, February 5, 2018, the Dow plunged by nearly 1,600 points and this decline is the biggest decline in points seen in history.

Some of the sudden plunge in the US markets on Monday was pinned on algorithmic trading, which is when computers are programmed to follow specific instructions to place trades.

Tuesday morning's initial nose dive came after two consecutive days of negative trading, including a 600 point drop on Friday.

Stocks fell hard Tuesday, then swung into a quick rebound as buyers stepped in to lend chipmakers and other tech stocks a surge of early strength.

S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 13.75 points, or 0.53 percent, with 1,173,713 contracts traded. The Dow is up 23 percent over that time, the S&P 500 17 percent.

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Trading was choppy in the early going Tuesday, likely to be one of the most watched days on the markets in years.

The drop brings the index down 10 percent from its record high, which was reached on January 26.

US crude fell 0.39 percent to $63.90 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.14, down 0.71 percent.

The Dow's point loss would be its biggest of all time, though in percentage terms, its 5.6 percent decline wasn't as big as its worst drop during the financial crisis.

Reitzes said that fundamentals certainly were not driving the "market turmoil". Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed down 5.1 percent, while markets in Australia, South Korea and China also lost ground. Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell 3.5 percent.

X The Dow Jones industrial average opened down 2.2%.

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The swoon began Friday as investors anxious that accelerating inflation and higher interest rates could derail the market's record-setting rally. Two examples: Jobs growth fell a year ago nationwide and output growth was the best ... since 2015.

Data on Friday showed the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings rose to 2.9 percent, the largest rise since June 2009.

The constant rise in USA share values since 2009 has been fuelled by the extraordinary easy-money policies of the world's major central banks, and most recently by President Donald Trump's tax cuts, promises of corporate deregulation and infrastructure spending.

US crude fell 1.2 percent to settle at $63.39 a barrel, while Brent dropped 1.1 percent to settle at $66.86. Bears, including short sellers that bet on the market decline, say that the market is over-stretched in the context of rising bond yields as central banks withdraw their easy money policies of recent years. Copper rose 3 cents to $3.22 a pound. Investors are concerned that the recent period of low inflation and low interest rates may be coming to an end.

On Monday, the Dow finished down 4.6 percent while the S&P 500 sank 4.1 percent, to 2,648.94. Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 25.75 points, or 0.4 percent, on volume of 207,522 contracts.

Commodities remained gloomy, with oil and industrial metals all falling as the year's stellar start for risk assets rapidly soured. Boeing lost 2 percent and Caterpillar was down 1 percent.

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