US STOCKS fell yesterday on continued worries about weak global demand, but managed to close well above session lows that briefly pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into negative territory for the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 173.45 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 16,141.74, the S&P 500 lost 15.21 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 1,862.49 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.85 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 4,215.32.
It had plummeted more than 300 points within the first 10 minutes of trading, then stuttered back up to regain half those losses. By midafternoon it had plunged again, dropping 460 points at the session low.
Traders dumped risky assets and parked their money in investments seen as relatively safe, such as US government bonds. That pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury note briefly below two per cent, the lowest level in more than a year.
“It’s a function of the US being the best house in a bad neighbourhood,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management. “There’s still uncertainty about economic growth, primarily on a global basis.”
Adding to the day’s worries, a second nurse in Texas tested positive for the Ebola virus, a week after Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed in the US with the disease, died.
In the hour before the close, Wal-Mart fell more than three per cent on news that the retailer cut its growth guidance. It ended the day 3.57 per cent down on $72.50.