U.S. stocks dive amid rate hike fears; Dow drops 2.5%

Traders worked the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday

Drew Angerer Getty Images Traders worked the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday

The Dow lost 665.75 points, or 2.5 percent, to 25,520.96. Investors are bracing for four Federal Reserve rate hikes this year as the bank aims to bring interest rates back up to historic neutral averages.

The Dow lost 1,095.75 points, or 4.1 percent. January remains the best month for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones since March 2016, while the Nasdaq recorded its biggest one-month increase in October 2015.

USA stocks fell sharply on Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report sent interest rates higher, with major indexes on track for their worst weekly performance in two years, CNBC reported.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 200,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said, beating expectation of 180,000.

A Merrill Lynch stock-market gauge with a flawless record reportedly has just flashed a red warning light.

The S&P 500 is up 88.52 points, or 3.3 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 56.90 points, or 0.77 percent, at 7,328.97.

On Jan. 14, he quoted in two tweets a Fox Business Network contributor who said the "most explosive Stock Market rally that we've seen in modern times". The index's five-day rout reached 3.9 percent - marking its first pullback of at least that much in a record 404 days.

S&P 500 e-mini stock futures EScv1 extended losses after 4 p.m. ET close in the cash market.

Exxon Mobil reported fourth-quarter earnings of 88 US cents per share, excluding the impacts of the USA tax reform and impairments, falling far short of market expectations.

"Wages are now growing 2.9% YoY (the fastest rate of growth since 2009) with last month's figure revised up to 2.7% from 2.5%".

"With interest rates on hold for the time being and inflation and wages beginning to show signs of picking up, the USA could be on course to hit the White House's economic growth target of 3% this year", suggested Jacob Deppe, head of trading at online trading platform, Infinox. But the stock fell 4.4 percent after the company said it expects profit margins of 38 percent to 38.5 percent, tighter than the expected 38.9 percent.

Adding to the pressure were disappointing earnings reports from major companies. Amid a widespread sell-off, the biggest fallers were Apple, Visa and oil firms Exxon and Chevron. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

They're normal. You can't have stocks rising at these levels all the time.

Average hourly earnings posted a 0.3 percent gain for the month and an annualized gain of 2.9 percent. Most company stocks have very little volatility.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.5 per cent. Barrick Gold Corp. slipped 3.2 per cent to $17.13, and Goldcorp Inc. fell 1.5 per cent to $17.25.

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