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Dow: Why stocks keep dropping

The Dow dropped as many as 596 points, or 2.4%, on Tuesday. Plunging retailers like Target (TGT) and Kohl’s (KSS) led the S&P 500 1.7% lower.
Tech stocks once again got hit hard, with the Nasdaq sinking 2%. Apple retreated another 4% after Goldman Sachs dimmed its price target on the iPhone maker for the second time in a week.

All three major indexes are now slightly lower for the year. The Dow is around 2,400 points off its peak.

“The highways will be crowded this evening as the Thanksgiving rush will begin in earnest, but this morning investors are rushing for the exits,” Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, wrote to clients on Tuesday.

The Dow lost nearly 400 points on Monday as well. This week’s selloff marks a continuation of a glum two months on Wall Street. The S&P 500 dipped back into a correction, marking a 10% retreat from the index’s record closing high on September 21.

The losses have been sparked by a flurry of concerns about everything from higher interest rates and crashing oil prices to the US-China trade war. But the overarching theme is that investors are bracing for the end of the fantastic economic and profit growth that marked the past year. Analysts expect a deceleration in 2019 driven by tariffs, the fading impact of the tax cuts and higher borrowing costs caused by the Federal Reserve.

“Put simply, stocks have already started to price in the risk of an economic slowdown,” Goldman Sachs chief US equity strategist David Kostin wrote to clients on Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley warned on Monday that the US stock market is already in a bear market. The firm noted that more than 40% of the S&P 500 is down 20% from recent highs.

“The market is speaking loudly that bad news is coming,” Morgan Stanley equity strategist Michael Wilson wrote to clients.

Slowdown fears were front-and-center in the retail sector. Disappointing results sent Target and Kohl’s more than 10% lower on Tuesday. TJX Companies (TJX) and Ross Stores also retreated. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s (LOW) lost 5% after posting results. That leaves the home improvement retailer on track for its ninth straight daily loss.
Investors continue to flee from the tech darlings that once carried the market higher. Worries about lackluster demand for the latest iPhones have weighed heavily on Apple (AAPL). Other momentum stocks like Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) are under heavy pressure. Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) is in its first bear market since 2011.
Energy stocks were among the biggest losers. ExxonMobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and Hess all lost ground after US oil prices plummeted below $54 a barrel for the first time in a year. Fears of a supply glut and weaker demand have knocked crude into a bear market. It’s now down around 30% from the recent high on October 3.

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