Stocks end wild day with 4% drop; S&P, Dow enter correction territory

|By:, SA News Editor

Stocks resumed their headlong plunge into the red, with all three major market indexes settling at their session lows following another steep selloff in the final minutes.

The Dow posted its second 1,000-point decline of the week but ending ~80 short of Tuesday's intraday low, while the S&P 500 closed below its intraday low; both benchmarks are down more than 10% from the Jan. 26 high, officially entering correction territory.

Today's losses were broad-based and indiscriminate, with the 11 S&P 500 sectors down from 1.2% (utilities) to 4.5% (financials).

"This whole correction is really about rates... about inflation creeping up... about people thinking the Fed is either behind the curve or actually has to be more aggressive," says Stephanie Link, global asset management managing director at TIAA. "That fear, that unknown is really what's driving a lot of the anxiety."

Sentiment likely was not helped by comments from the likes of NY Fed President Bill Dudley, who called this week's stock market drop "small potatoes" and not an influence on his outlook for growth or policy.

Also, the reported two-year budget agreement in the Senate has fueled concerns about the level of the budget deficit and national debt.

Surprisingly, Treasury prices ended little changed, with the 10-year yield hitting 2.88% but settling just a basis point higher at 2.85%.

U.S. WTI crude oil fell for the fifth straight day, -1% at $61.15/bbl.