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North American stocks plunge, loonie closes at 79.46 cents US

10 February 2018

Selling in the bond market led Wall Street to worry that inflation will force the Federal Reserve to speed up its rate hike plans.

Among the biggest losers Tuesday was Tokyo's Nikkei 225 stock average, which ended 4.7 percent lower.

Traders are bracing for volatility to stay high as they try to figure out if the swings of the past two days are the start of a deeper correction or just a temporary blip in the USA market's nine-year bull run.

United Kingdom shares opened lower on Friday, but the declines were not as big as those seen in Asia and the US.

The rise in yields and sharp moves in obscure volatility funds that use leverage have been cited by traders as reasons for the market's recent pullback and volatility spike.

A day after dropping more than 1,000 points, the Dow rebounded Friday morning along with other indexes.

FTSE 100 graph
GOOGLEFTSE 100 price The FTSE 100 in the UK took a battering today

Major indexes in Asia and Europe fell following Monday's 1,175-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average.

With Thursday's losses, the Dow and S&P 500 have now fallen more than 10 percent from their peaks, meeting the official definition of a "correction" in financial parlance and marking an about-face from the bullishness of early 2018.

Numerous companies that led the market's gains over the past year have struggled badly in the last week.

European shares rose around 0.7 percent, while Asian markets were mixed.

The S&P 500 gave up 100 points, or 3.8 percent, to 2,581.

The Nasdaq composite fell 3.9 percent as Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft all fell at least 4.5 percent. The historic drop also erased the index's gains for the year. It was up as much as 349 in early trading.

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"Whilst the recent declines in the USA have attracted the lion's share of attention, the major benchmarks have actually [performed] relatively well compared to several other worldwide indices in recent sessions", said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at the United Kingdom brokerage, XTB.

The long period since the last scary market event makes the current drop, which market pros had been warning about, seem worse than it is.

The Dow was down 810 points, or 3.3 percent, to 24,088.

The dollar index rose 0.03 percent, with the euro down 0.11 percent to $1.2248. Just after 2 p.m., the Dow had surged back into positive territory and up 60 points.

The market didn't get much help Thursday from company earnings reports, several of which disappointed investors. When people see massive losses in their brokerage accounts or 401ks, they tend to lose confidence and spend less. Numerous companies that rose the most over the previous year have borne the brunt of the selling. Microsoft lost 2.3 percent.

After a sharp loss Wednesday, benchmark US crude lost 64 cents, or 1 percent, to $61.15 a barrel in NY.

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The Dow Jones industrial average fell 438 points, or 1.8 percent, to 23,434. The broad market S&P 500 finished down 101 points, at 2,581.

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Hanesbrands sank 8.8 percent after its results came up short of analysts' foreacasts. Gold fell $7, or 0.5 percent, to $1,329.50 an ounce and silver dipped 9 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $16.58 an ounce.

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North American stocks plunge, loonie closes at 79.46 cents US