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[BRIEFING.COM] Aggressive selling pressure sent the stock market down about 4% before it began to bounce into the close. The loss still made for the market's worst one-day percentage drop in a month, though.
A weak finish on Wall Street yesterday and revived concerns about macro conditions, both economic and financial, sent the major global averages sharply lower overnight. That simply perpetuated selling pressure, resulting in a loss of almost 5% for the Global Dow Average, which closed at a new 52-week low.
According to reports, more than 100 stocks listed in the S&P 500 set fresh 52-week lows of their own today. Selling was generally indiscriminate, but natural resource plays suffered the most. As such, the materials sector and energy sector both fell more than 5%.
Weakness among natural resource plays was exacerbated by precipitous drops in commodity prices, such that the CRB Commodity Index fell more than 4% to a new 2011 low. Oil prices weighed most heavily as crude futures fell to $80.51 per barrel for a 6.3% loss, which makes for oil's largest single-session percentage drop since early August. Even gold failed to garner support; it settled with a loss of 3.8% at $1739 per ounce.
The extreme negativity took the Dow down some 500 points and the S&P 500 about 4% lower to set session lows with less than an hour before the closing bell. As if the bleeding wasn't already bad enough, the stock market even threatened to break down further as it slid below its 52-week closing low around the 1120 line. However, some late relief buying brought stocks back from what seemed like the brink of another leg of losses.
The need for safety sent the dollar up sharply. In fact, the Dollar Index climbed more than 1% to set a new multi-month high. Its gains were challenged in the afternoon when the euro was helped by a headline that suggested the European Union is seeking to recapitalize 16 banks. The dollar eventually reclaimed its gains.
Treasuries had an historical day in that the yield on the benchmark 10-year Note dropped to a record low near 1.70%. The Note ended the day more than a full point higher.
All of the action brought plenty of participants in from the sidelines. In turn, share volume on the NYSE climbed to more than 1.7 billion. Advancing volume outnumbered declining volume by more than 50-to-1 on the Big Board.
Advancing Sectors: (None)
Declining Sectors: Materials -5.5%, Energy -5.3%, Industrials -3.8%, Consumer Discretionary -3.3%, Tech -3.2%, Financials -3.0%, Health Care -2.1%, Consumer Staples -1.9%, Telecom -1.8%, Utilities -1.8%