Markets Crater Late, Dow Loses 634 Points

U.S. markets continue downwards spiral in afternoon trading

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Update 7: (4:10 p.m. EDT) The final numbers are in and they are ugly. According to Yahoo Finance, the Dow Jones finished at 10,809.85, down 634.76 points from the start of trading. That represents a 5.5 % loss. The Nasdaq Composite lost 174.72 points to close at 2,357.69, a 6.9 % loss. The S&P 500 finished down 79.92 points, ending the day at 1,119.46. Appropriately enough, that's a 6.66 % decline. Gold reached $1,715.50 an ounce, another new record. The price of oil dropped to an eight-month low, notes Bloomberg, with investors rushing to put their money into treasury bills and gold. The price of 10-year Treasury yields dropped to its lowest price since January 2009, reports Market Watch. Meanwhile, VIX, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility index (Market Watch calls it the market's "fear gauge," while Yahoo Finance calls it a "measure of trepidation") soared, climbing 39% to 44.55, the biggest single session rise since May 2007. Luke Ribahri, a partner at Stutland Volatility Group in Chicago tells Market Watch a VIX rating over 40 means "uncertainty" and "panic" among investors.

Update 6: (3:59 p.m. EDT) We jumped the gun on that Seinfeld rally in our last update. Rather than making up ground in the final minutes of trading, American markets are bottoming out, with the Dow Jones off 617.14 points, a more than 200 point dip in the last 45 minutes. The Nasdaq Composite is down 161.03 and the S&P is off 74.61 points.

Update 5: (3:17 p.m. EDT) We heard a great line about late-day rallies last week from Market Beat's Mark Gongloff, who credited it to Heard on the Street's David Reilly: the Seinfeld rally. According to Gongloff, it's a late-day "stock-market rally about nothing." It happened a few times during the debt ceiling debacle, a late upward trend that made the day look respectable, or at least not terrible. There's a bit of a Seinfeld rally happening in the last hour of trading Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average creeping back up past 11,000 and threatening to close down less than 400 points, after being down 605 points just before 3 p.m., reports the Washington Post.

Update 4: (2:41 p.m. EDT) Bloomberg notes that this is the S&P 500's worst three-day slump since November 2008, during the heights of the global financial crisis. 499 of the 500 companies in the S&P index--ostensibly a bellwether for the market as a whole--are posting losses for the day. The one holdout? Newmont Mining Corp., a gold mining company, is up .22% on the day to $54.53.

Update 3: (2:27 p.m. EDT) According to the Wall Street Journal, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gone below 11,000 to 10890.60, enough for a 4.84% decline from the start of trading. The Nasdaq is down 155.96 and the S&P is down 72.52 points. Those figures represent declines of 6.13% and 6.05% from the start of the day.

Update 2: (2:07 p.m. EDT) With two hours still left to go in the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is off 400.78 points to 11,043.83, while the Nasdaq Composite is down 114.36 points to 2,418.05, according to CNN Money. The S&P is down 54.53 points to 1,144.85. The news wasn't any better in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal, where "Germany's blue-chip index [closed] down 5%," Russia's RTS market was off 7.8%, and "the ASE Composite index tumbled 6%"

Update 1 (11:45 a.m. EDT): According to CNN Money, the Dow sank 350 points today before rebounding slightly to its current level of 11,153.98. In addition, the S&P 500 lost 43 points, or 3.7; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 101 points, or 4 %."

Original post: Stocks opened dramatically down on Monday, the first day of trading since Standard & Poor's lowered the United States' credit rating from AAA to AA+. According to MarketWatch, "The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 193.75 points to 11,250.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 22.32 points to 1,177.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 63.61 points to 2,468.80." The drop came as markets worldwide nosed downward, with European stocks falling "as investors weighed up reported purchases of Italian and Spanish bonds by the European Central Bank against Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating," The Wall Street Journal reported. Asian markets, which have finished trading for the day, closed down across the board, with the sharpest drops in "China's Shanghai Composite Index, South Korea's Kospi and Taiwan's Taiex," which "each fell 3.8% to finish at 2,526.82, 1,869.45 and 7,552.80, respectively." To top it all off, Treasury yields fell on Monday as investors sought the "liquidity and safe-haven status of the U.S. debt market," MarketWatch reported.

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