U.S. stocks plunged for a second straight session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 1,400 points and the S&P 500 Index enduring its steepest single-day decline since August 2015, erasing its gains for the year.
Treasuries and gold rallied as the equity markets deflated. Yields on core government bonds in Europe also fell. The pound slumped, and the euro declined. The dollar stabilized.
Equity investors are looking for confirmation that recent declines represent the healthy correction many had expected after the stellar start to the year. The downward move was sparked by U.S. wage data on Friday that pointed to quickening inflation, which would lead to higher rates and, in turn, rising borrowing costs for companies.
“I think sentiment was a little too optimistic,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “What was driving the market up in January? It wasn’t the fundamentals, as good as they were, it was excessive confidence.”
Elsewhere, oil extended declines after U.S. explorers raised the number of rigs drilling for crude to the most since August. Copper climbed the most in a week. Bitcoin slid below $7,000.
These are the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 fell 4.3% as of 3:11 p.m. New York time. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 1.6%, hitting the lowest in almost 12 weeks with its sixth consecutive decline. Germany’s DAX Index fell 0.8 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index sank 1.5 percent to a two-month low.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.3%. The euro decreased 0.5% to $1.2405. The British pound declined 0.8% to $1.4001, the weakest in almost two weeks. The Japanese yen gained 0.3% to 109.79 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell four basis points to 2.81%. Germany’s 10-year yield declined three basis points to 0.74%, the largest decrease in almost six weeks. Britain’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 1.558%.
West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 2.2% to $64.01 a barrel. Gold advanced 0.1% to $1,334.76 an ounce. Copper gained 1.8% to $7,169 per metric ton.