Stocks drop almost 10 percent in 2 days

Specialists Jennifer Klesaris and Charles Jenness work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Associated Press

Specialists Jennifer Klesaris and Charles Jenness work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

NEW YORK — Concerns about widespread economic weakness sent the major stock indexes down more than 4 percent Thursday, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which tumbled more than 440 points.

Major indexes have lost about 10 percent since Barack Obama was elected president — a vote preceded by a steep rally — and the losses represent the Dow's worst two-day percentage decline since the October 1987 crash.

Paper losses during that time in U.S. stocks came to $1.2-trillion, according to the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, which represents nearly all stocks traded in America.

Thursday's rout follows a drop of more than 5 percent in the market Wednesday that saw the Dow plunge nearly 500 points.

Still, the market's two-day slide follows an enormous run-up since last week so some pullback was expected, analysts said. Through the six sessions that ended Tuesday, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index surged 18.3 percent.

The Dow fell 443.48, or 4.85 percent, to 8,695.79 after falling as much as 502 in the final five minutes of trading on Thursday. The blue chips remain 520 points, or 6.4 percent, above 8,176, their Oct. 27 closing low from the market's yearlong decline.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 47.89, or 5.03 percent, to 904.88, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 72.94, or 4.34 percent, to 1,608.70.

Over the past two days, the Dow is down 9.7 percent, the S&P 500 index is off 10 percent and the Nasdaq is down 9.6 percent.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 18.80, or 3.65 percent, to 495.84 on Thursday, bringing its two-day decline to 9.2 percent.

>>Fast facts

Jobless claims at 25-year high

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people continuing to draw unemployment benefits jumped by 122,000 to 3.84-million in late October, well above analysts' estimates of 3.74-million. That was the highest level since late February 1983, when the country was struggling to recover from a long recession. The year-ago tally was 2.59-million people.

The government is expected to report a net loss of an additional 200,000 jobs when it releases the October employment report today. The unemployment rate — now at 6.1 percent — is expected to climb to 6.3 percent in October.

Associated Press

Stocks drop almost 10 percent in 2 days 11/06/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:09am]

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