Stock Market Takes Record-Setting Swan Dive, Falling Nearly 1,200 Points

NYSE stock trader
Photo by Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

UPDATED, 1:15 PM PT with closing prices: The stock market, which took a tumble Friday, went into complete free-fall this afternoon and recorded by far the biggest single-day point drop in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Dow 30 dropped as much as 1,597 points as fears about inflation and rising yields on government bonds raged before finishing the session 1,175.11 points in the red. The other major stock indices, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500, also pulled back sharply, by 4% apiece.

Media shares were hit hard across the board, with most companies declining between 2% and 5% on the day. A tiny handful of fortunate outliers managed gains, including Snapchat parent Snap Inc., up 1% to $13.84, and Regal Cinemas, which added a penny to $23.11.

The plunge erased all of the Dow’s gains for 2018 to date and took the index back to mid-December levels. It also eclipsed the previous single-day record, set in September 2008, when the real estate meltdown pushed the country into a severe economic crisis. In percentage terms, that bleak day in 2008 shaved nearly 7% off of the Dow.

Given the recent runup in stock valuations, as bad as today was for the Dow, on a percentage basis it didn’t even rank among the 20 worst days on Wall Street. Black Monday in October 1987, to cite one infamous example, saw a cataclysmic 23% surrender.

The bloodletting comes as the media business is getting set for significant quarterly earnings news. Disney reports its results after the closing bell tomorrow, followed by Snap and 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Viacom and Lionsgate are out with their earnings on Thursday.

President Donald Trump pointed last week to substantial gains in the stock market during his first year in office, though many market watchers have been fretting about the long rally becoming over-extended. A jobs report on Friday pointing to higher wage levels augured inflation, sparking the selloff. Today appeared to be momentum selling.

As the markets were getting ready to close this afternoon, Trump (pre-emptively?) tweeted a reminder about the tax reform bill that he signed into law in late December.

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