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Banks, tech firms lead stock slide as N. Korea tensions rise

The facade of the NYSE on Oct. 4, 2014.

The facade of the NYSE on Oct. 4, 2014. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula rattled nerves on Wall Street Tuesday, leading to the stock market’s worst day in almost three weeks.

Bank stocks led the slide as bond yields slumped. Technology stocks, the biggest gainers this year, also pulled the market lower. Energy companies climbed the most as the price of crude oil rose.

Traders also bid up shares in traditional safe-haven investments such as utilities and gold, which climbed to the highest level in more than a year.

Worries about North Korea were “front and center,” said Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. “Also you have the hurricane last week and the upcoming hurricane, so there’s a lot on the plate for the market to digest.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 0.8 percent, to 2,457.85. The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 234.25 points, or 1.1 percent, to 21,753.31. The average had been down more than 277 points. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.9 percent, to 6,375.57.

Stocks were coming off back-to-back weekly gains as investors returned from the Labor Day holiday weekend to heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 20.7 percent to 12.23. — AP

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