Equities Roundup: Stocks Plummet As Bear Market Possibility Still Very Much In Play

Equities Editors Desk  |

Wall Street plunged over 4.5 percent today as more bad news sparked a massive sell-off, suggesting that volatility is still king in the stock market. Investors have been uneasy over the near-term growth prospects of both the U.S. and global economy as the European Union continues to wrestle with its financial crisis. A trio of negative U.S. economic reports most likely encouraged today's turn lower. The U.S. Labor Department said that unemployment benefits applications increased 9,000 to back over 400,000 last week. Economists had forecasted only a 1,000 increase. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits have been over 400,000 for 18 of the last 19 weeks. The department also announced that consumer prices also spiked up more than expected in July as well. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent, and core prices rose 0.2 percent for the month. Adding to the bearish sentiment today, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said that manufacturing slowed in the Atlantic region last month, falling to the lowest levels in over two years. The probability that the U.S., and perhaps even the rest of the global economy, is returning to a recession was increased as Morgan Stanley (MS) economists cut their growth estimates and said the U.S. and Europe are dangerously close to contracting. Investors in fear of the seemingly impending downturn are once again fleeing to safe havens like gold and Treasuries. Gold surged past $1,800 an ounce as it continues to benefit from the market's uncertainty. On the flip side, oil got pummeled by 5 percent, falling to $83 an ounce.

DJIA: 11,005.95 (-3.55 percent)
S&P 500: 1,145.38 (-4.06 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,401.35 (-4.38 percent)
Russell 2000: 672.13 (-4.53 percent)

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