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Dow sinks another 464 points as slowdown fears worsen

Technology stocks that have led the market in recent years are now dragging it down. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite is now down 19.5 percent from the record high it reached in August.

Trader Robert Charmak works on the floor of

Trader Robert Charmak works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 6 Photo Credit: AP/Richard Drew

It was another miserable day on Wall Street as a series of big December plunges continued, putting stocks on track for their worst month in a decade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 464 points Thursday, bringing its losses to more than 1,700 points since Friday.

The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index has slumped 10.6 percent this month and is almost 16 percent below the peak it reached in late September.

The S&P 500 is on track for its first annual loss in a decade.

The technology stocks that have led the market in recent years are now dragging it down. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite is now down 19.5 percent from the record high it reached in August.

The market swoon is coming even as the U.S. economy is on track to expand this year at the fastest pace in 13 years. Markets tend to move, however, on what investors anticipate will happen well into the future.

Markets are concerned about the potential for a slowing economy and two threats that could make the situation worse: the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which has lasted most of this year, and rising interest rates, which act as a brake on economic growth by making it more expensive for businesses and individuals to borrow money.

The selling in the last two days came after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fourth time this year and signaled it was likely to continue raising rates next year, although at a slower rate than it previously forecast.

Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said investors felt Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came off as unconcerned about the state of the U.S. economy, despite deepening worries on Wall Street that growth could slow even more in 2019 and 2020. Wren said investors want to know that the Fed is keeping a close eye on the situation.

"He may be a little overconfident," said Wren. "The Fed needs to be paying attention to what's going on."

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that markets are also concerned that the U.S. may not avoid a partial government shutdown this weekend. The paper said, however, that research of past shutdowns suggest that the stock market tends to take such occurrences in stride.

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