Monday, February 19, 2018




Stocks rally, wobble, then end lower as turbulence continues

Feb. 7, 2018 at 11:44 p.m.

Wednesday was another shaky day on Wall Street as indexes rallied in the morning, bobbed up and down for much of the day, then sank in the last few minutes of trading.

NEW YORK (AP) — It was another shaky day on Wall Street as indexes rallied in the morning, bobbed up and down for much of the day, then sank in the last few minutes of trading. Energy companies dropped along with oil prices and technology companies also declined.

Stocks were coming off a big gain Tuesday. At times investors looked ready to jump back in after steep losses Friday and Monday, yet every gain the market made was met with more selling. About 20 minutes before the close of trading the Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 260 points, but finished with a small loss.

After two steep plunges, including its worst loss in six and a half years Monday, the S&P 500 is down 6.7 percent from its recent record high set Jan. 26.

While markets were noticeably calmer Wednesday, there are signs investors are still far more nervous than they were just a few days ago. The VIX, which is called Wall Street's "fear gauge" because it measures how much volatility investors expect in the future, is currently at 27, more than double where it was two weeks ago. It spiked above 50 early Tuesday.

"The markets had blinders on," said Invesco Chief Global Markets Strategist Kristina Hooper. "I thought it was almost alarming that markets weren't considering that, for example, we have a different (Federal Reserve) in 2018 that could be more hawkish."

Stocks tumbled Friday after the Labor Department said that workers' wages rose in January at their fastest pace in eight years. That's good for the economy, but Hooper noted that higher pay to workers can reduce corporate profits, and those profits are the stock market's fuel. And while higher pay affects company profits quickly, it can take a long time for workers to start spending more money after they get a raise.

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