U.S. stocks plunged on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 600 points and the S&P falling 3.1 percent to erase gains made for the entire year, Bloomberg News reported.
> The S&P extended its October rout to 8.8 percent, making it the worst month since February 2009. Disappointing earnings from AT&T and Texas Instruments drove declines in the communications and semiconductor groups, offsetting a promising outlook from Boeing. The Dow tumbled 600 points, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lapsed into a correction.
> “This is really off the walls,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at Newbridge Securities. “Nothing fundamentally changed during the day. I think it’s a technical breakdown. Look at the Nasdaq -- down 300 points.”
Lackluster housing data added to worries that rising interest rates will further depress economic growth, CNBC noted:
> Worries about a slowing economy under pressure from rising interest rates grew after the Commerce Department said new home sales fell to a two-year low. The data also hit homebuilder stocks.The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) dropped 3.5 percent.
> "The housing numbers were not good," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "There's a lot of uncertainty heading into the end of the year. It just feels like people feel more comfortable spending short-term rather than long term."
Other factors contributed to the month’s slide as well: “some earnings disappointment, a brewing conflict between Italy and the European Union over budget spending, criticism of oil power Saudi Arabia over the killing of a dissident journalist and finally, worries that world growth is losing steam.”