Stocks are getting crushed

Stocks are getting crushed on Thursday, and the major indexes are seeing their worst two-day drop in eight months.

Near 2:43 p.m. ET, stocks were at the lows of the day, and the Dow was down 298 points, the S&P 500 was down 36 points, and the Nasdaq was down 121 points. The Dow and S&P 500 were 1.7% lower and the Nasdaq was off more than 2.4% at these levels. 

Among the biggest losers on Thursday were the so-called “FANG” stocks, comprised of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google as each fell more than 2% with Netflix the big loser, falling more than 7%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has been the best performer this year and these 4 stocks were the major leaders of this rally. 

The S&P 500 went red for the year, and more than 30 stocks on the benchmark index touched 52-week lows

Thursday also markets the second-straight day of market turmoil after Wednesday’s session was quite wobbly. The Dow plunged more than 200 points in the morning after data showed softer-than-expected inflation in July. And then, after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting leaked, stocks bounced well off their lows, only to tumble again into the close. The Dow closed down 162 points.

The minutes showed that FOMC members think economic conditions are nearing those appropriate for a rate hike, though they gave little clues on the timing. In a note to clients, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists said the market was pricing only a 33% chance that the Fed would raise rates in September, from about 50% before the minutes.

And now stocks are sliding. Global markets were also sharply lower. The DAX in Germany, the CAC in France, and the Euro Stoxx 50 all fell more than 1%.

Chinese stocks got clobbered again, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite down more than 3%. And Thursday morning, Citi economists cut their outlook for growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Investors are piling on government bonds, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year treasury note has fallen to a 3-month low of 2.08%. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil came really close to falling below $US40 a barrel for the first time since March 2009. Futures in New York fell to as low as $US41.21 a barrel on Thursday.

Gold is getting a strong bid on Thursday — and has for the past few days. It climbed nearly 2%, or about $US22 an ounce, to around $US1,151. Silver gained more than 2%, while platinum and copper were up by more than 1%.

Initial jobless claims numbers crossed earlier, rising more than expected, although the four-week moving average is still near historic lows. Existing home sales climbed to the highest level in eight years, and the Philly Fed’s business outlook beat expectations.

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