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Dow closes down 1,175 in biggest single-day point loss ever

CNBC logo CNBC 2/5/2018 Fred Imbert


Stocks fell sharply in volatile trading Monday, extending a steep sell-off from the previous session.

The Dow closed 1,175 points lower after briefly declining more than 1,500 points, posting its biggest single-day point loss ever. The 30-stock index also broke below 25,000 and erased its 2018 gains. 

"Breaking the early lows of the day means the correction could go on for longer," said Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange.

The S&P 500 pulled back 4.1 percent. The broad index had traded positive earlier on Monday as the tech sector briefly rose. The S&P 500 also traded down more than 5 percent from an all-time high set last month and broke below its 50-day moving average, a key technical level.

"As soon as we broke the 50-day moving average . . . we saw volatility spike," said Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial. "It's just been downhill from there."

The Nasdaq composite declined 3.8 percent after rising as much as 0.5 percent. Earlier gains in Apple and Amazon helped the tech-heavy index trade off its lows.

"We're not used to getting washouts like this anymore," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "The buy-the-dip mentality that has taken over hasn't allowed for that." "This sell-off, in the bigger scheme of things, is not that big. But it is very important in psychological terms," Krosby said.

The Dow fell 665.75 points on Friday, notching its biggest one-day sell-off since June 2016. The S&P 500 had its worst one-day performance since Sept. 2016, and the Nasdaq posted its worst session since August 2017.

Stocks were pressured by a fast rise in interest rates last week. The benchmark 10-year yield rose to its highest levels in four years. Overnight, it reached 2.88 percent before trading around 2.75 percent. The major indexes also capped their worst weekly performance in two years on Friday.

The Dow and S&P 500 pulled back 4.1 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, last week. The Nasdaq lost 3.53 percent.

"What we noticed in January was that stocks and bond yields wanted to run through their year-end targets" to start off 2018, said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Private Bank. "I think both markets just need to take a breather." He also noted these pullbacks in bonds and stocks should be viewed as buying opportunities by investors.

Stocks began the new year ripping higher. The Dow and S&P 500 had their best monthly gains since March 2016 last month. The Nasdaq posted its biggest one-month gain since October 2015 in January. The major indexes had also notched record highs.

Equities benefited from strong economic data and solid corporate earnings growth at the start of the year. But increasing inflation concerns have sent interest rates higher recently, rattling Wall Street.

The White House repeatedly touted the stock market's rally last month. When asked about the market's current sell-off, officials said they are "always concerned when the market loses any value, but we're also confident in the economy's fundamentals."

The CBOE Volatility index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, hit 35.02.


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