Stocks plummeted on Wednesday as a sharp drop in tech shares and worries about corporate earnings added fuel to this month's steep pullback.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 608.01 points at 24,583.42 and erased all of its gains for 2018. The S&P 500dropped 3.1 percent to 2,656.10 and also turned negative for the year. The Nasdaq Composite fell 4.4 percent to 7,108.40— entering correction territory — as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet all traded lower.
"An increasingly murky macro picture is clouding the 2019 earnings outlook leaving investors to largely shrug off a solid start to the third quarter earnings season," said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell. "While valuations have certainly come down in recent weeks, at 16 times forward earnings for the Russell 1000 index, they aren't in the bargain basement by any means, especially if earnings growth slows more than expected next year."
Stocks have taken a beating this month. The Dow has dropped 7.1 percent in October, while the S&P 500 has pulled back 8.9 percent. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has tumbled 11.7 percent.
Netflix tumbled 9.4 percent as investors second-guessed valuations for the once high-flying video streamer. Facebook and Alphabet both fell more than 5 percent, while Apple dropped 3.4 percent. AT&T, meanwhile, dropped more than 8.1 percent after releasing its quarterly results.
Worries about a slowing economy under pressure from rising interest rates grew after the Commerce Department said new home sales fell to a two-year low. The data also hit homebuilder stocks.The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) dropped 3.5 percent.
"The housing numbers were not good," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "There's a lot of uncertainty heading into the end of the year. It just feels like people feel more comfortable spending short-term rather than long term."
We were in correction territory in March, but the Dow recovered and set a new record earlier this month. Since then, in the last 3 weeks, the markets have dropped 10%. I don't expect a full-on 2008 crash, not yet at least, but I sure as hell don't think Trump's people can prevent one from happening, not when the full impact of tariffs hit.
The cynical man inside says that this is being done on purpose, to create chaos in order to take advantage of it. We know that's the Trump m.o. when it comes to his escape plans. Should things turn against the GOP in three weeks, that chaos will be very handy.
It's far from the darkest time in our history, but it's the worst it has been for a while, and there's a fair distance down we can still go.