STOCKS GET CRUSHED, DOW FALLS 264: Here's What You Need To Know

Aeroplane jet red retardant california wildfireREUTERS/Noah BergerInvestors poured cold water on stocks on Thursday.

Markets got crushed on Thursday with the Nasdaq logging the largest percentage losses. Stocks gave up all of their gains, and then some, from Wednesday.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 16,945.8, -264.2, (-1.5%)
  • S&P 500: 1,965.9, -32.3, (-1.6%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,466.7, -88.4, (-1.9%)

And now, the top stories on Thursday:

1. Stocks had an awful day. The market opened lower and quickly fell towards its worst levels as the market gave up all of its gains from Wednesday. In a note near noon, Dave Lutz of JonesTrading wrapped up some of the reasons traders were citing for the sell-off, including rumours of a hedge fund in trouble, a technical breakdown in the S&P 500, and hawkish comments from Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher, among other things. As the NYSE’s Rich Barry said, “They are throwing everything at this market today, and we’re not very happy about it.”

2. On Thursday morning, we got several pieces of economic data, including the weekly report on initial jobless claims. The report showed that claims rose to 293,000 from last week’s revised 281,000, which was better than the 296,000 expected by economists. Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro called the report, “a modest rebound,” and added that, “claims have dropped dramatically over the past couple of years, and might even still be declining. The key point, though, is that claims are already low enough to signal big payroll increases, other things equal.”

3. Durable goods orders in August fell a record 18.2%, but this followed the record increase of 22.6% seen in July, and Shepherdson said to ignore the headline number, as the core durable goods number which strips out transportation spending — responsible for both the huge rise and sharp fall in the last two months — rose 0.7%.

4. Markit’s flash service sector PMI reading for September came in at 58.5, below expectations for 59.2 but indicating that strength in the sector remains strong. In a release, Markit said, “A further strong increase in business activity reflected steep and accelerated growth of incoming new work in September. The latest rise in new business volumes was the sharpest since June and one of the fastest seen over the five-year survey history.”

5. Earlier this week we highlighted the so-called “Death Cross” in the Russell 2000, a technical indicator that many see as a clear reversal in the market’s trend. And while some may view technical analysis as not the best way to look at stocks, Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal noted that after some of the ugly market action this week, it looks like the Death Cross was really something worth paying attention. So far, at least.

6. Apple shares had a terrible day, falling more than 3% as the iPhone maker continues to deal with the fallout from Wednesday’s failed software update and concerns over the durability of its just-released iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models. Apple, which is the largest company by market cap on the US markets, is the largest component of both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite and weighed on both of those indexes.

7. Oil has had a terrible summer, and on Thursday, market guru Ed Yardeni highlighted the waning demand in global crude oil supply. Yardeni wrote: “Demand growth among the advanced economies of the OECD remained slightly negative for the fifth consecutive month. It has been mostly negative since September 2011. Among the other economies, growth was 1.9% during August, the lowest since September 2009.”

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