Dow Plunges 550 on Hovering Charges, Disappointing Earnings

As recently as 2016, a fall of 600 points on the Dow marked a almost 3.4 percent sell-off.

In addition to the tax law, US companies' earnings are benefiting from improving global economic growth and the weaker USA dollar, which helps US multinationals exports sales, said Jill Carey Hall, equity and quant strategist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Optimism over forecasts has caught the attention of anxious investors, who hope that strong earnings can support lofty stock valuations and offset the concerns over rising bond yields and the pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes. The S&P 500 dropped almost 60 points, or 2.1 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite slid almost 145 points, or 2 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday shed more than 1,095 points for the week, which would be its steepest weekly slide since October 10 2008, when it shed 1,874 points, according to FactSet data.

Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.87 a gallon and heating oil fell 4 cents to $2.05 a gallon.

Interest rates on Treasury bonds spiked upward after the monthly employment report showed the economy added 200,000 jobs in January.

The data stoked fears inflation would rise due to higher wages and low unemployment. Even with the pullback, the major indexes are still up more than 3 per cent this year.

The yield on 10-year Treasury note, the benchmark for many kinds of loans including mortgages, has risen swiftly in recent months, having traded as low as 2.17 percent in September.

Bond prices declined again Friday, pushing yields higher.

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Investor mindsets are shifting to realize that interest rates in the US will go higher and likely at a quicker rate than originally anticipated, he said, which means all asset values probably need to be reassessed to the downside.

This week's market pullback has come even as US economic data continues to reflect strong growth. Both companies released quarterly results that missed expectations. Chevron gave up $6.99 to $118.58.

Technology companies also fell. The stock was down $4.36 to $163.42.

To be sure, as the Dow has soared over its almost 122-year history, point drops increasingly represent a smaller percentage change. Amazon shares gained $62 to $1,452. Brent crude, used to price global oils, fell $1.07, or 1.5 per cent, to close at $68.58 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 110.28 yen from 109.42 yen on Thursday.

The euro declined 0.4 percent to $1.2457.

BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin was down 4.7 percent to $8,630, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Google's parent company, Alphabet, dropped 5 percent.

Other major indexes fell about 2 percent Friday. Germany's DAX slid 1.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 lost 1.1 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 1.4 percent, wiping out gains this year with its fifth consecutive decline.

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