Economic gloom rocks US markets

INVESTORS fled the US stock market yesterday and the S&P 500 tumbled to its lowest level in eight months in a sell-off triggered by a wave of increasing alarm over the global economic outlook.

All but one stock in the S&P 500 ended lower as escalating doubts about the stability of Europe’s banks roiled markets once again.

The S&P 500 had tumbled below its 2010 intraday low of 1,040.78 during the session. The index closed at its lowest level since 30 October, breaking its closing low for the year at 1,050.47. Economically sensitive sectors such as materials, industrials and financials were among the hardest hit.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 268.22 points, or 2.65 per cent, to 9,870.30. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 33.33 points, or 3.10 per cent, to 1,041.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 85.47 points, or 3.85 per cent, to 2,135.18.