Markets sink as tech and retail fall; oil drops 7 per cent

Markets sink as tech and retail fall; oil drops 7 per cent

WALL STREET: Major indexes bounced back from two days of steep losses as retailers, technology and internet companies posted strong gains.

The S&P energy index rose 1.6 per cent as oil prices steadied after a 6 per cent plunge on Tuesday.

The Dow rebounded slightly after 10 a.m. but was still down 414.13 points - or 1.7 percent - in late morning trade.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished essentially flat at 24,464.69 after fading badly in the last hour of trading. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 15 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 1,484. The Dow fell 395.78 points, or 1.6%, to 25,017.44.

The turbulent and tech-centric Nasdaq Composite Index was nearly 14 percent below the closing high it reached in August.

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In a sign of just how bad the carnage on Wall Street has been in the recent sell-off, more than 45 percent of the stocks in the S&P 500 are down more than 20 percent from their highs in the past year, according to Bloomberg data.

The Nasdaq is up 68.86 points, or 1 percent. Natural gas surged 10 percent to $4.70 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Investors lately have been quick to bail out of companies that show rising costs are eating into profits, and that was the case with retailers Tuesday.

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Shares of Apple are officially sitting in a bear market, down 20 percent from October's record levels, as investors worry about some weakness in iPhone sales. The company said sales broke out of a slump and prices also rose.

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Apple sank 2.6 percent in early trading Monday and Amazon lost 1.5 percent.

This pressured the broader tech sector as Microsoft and Twitter also joined the retreat, while Amazon curbed losses. Nokia, a big supplier of telecom networks, fell 4 percent, and Ericsson lost 3.5 percent.

Boeing sank to $320.04 and Caterpillar fell 3.1 percent to $125.90.

Gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,225.30 an ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.08 percent from 3.04 percent. Utility companies took only modest losses and bond prices were steady. Silver inched up 0.1% to $14.40 an ounce. The pound extended its gains to $1.2880 from $1.2879, on news that Britain and the European Union had reached a deal in principle on future relations. The dollar slipped to 112.54 yen from 112.83 yen.

France's CAC 40 gave up 0.8 percent and Germany's DAX slid 0.9 percent. The euro declined to $1.1452 from $1.1454. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.4%. The benchmark index is 9.9 percent below its September peak.

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