Wall Street ended a turbulent week with another astonishing show of volatility, with stocks plunging, recovering and then plunging again as investors absorbed another wave of downbeat economic news.
On Friday, the Dow fell 337.93, or 3.82 per cent, to 8,497.31 at its lows of the day. The Dow fell more than 300 in early trading, recovered to a slim advance and then turned sharply lower at the end of the day as hedge funds cashed out. Fund investors had on Saturday as the deadline for withdrawing their money.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 38.00, or 4.17 per cent, to 873.29, and the Nasdaq stumbled 79.85, or 5.00 per cent, to 1,516.85.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 34.71, or 7.07 per cent, to 456.52.
Declining issues outpaced advancers by about 4 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.4 billion shares.
On Thursday, the Dow's surge was the third-largest single-session point gain on record, following the 889-point rise on October 28 and the 936-point surge on October 13. The rally came after three days of selling that wiped out about US$ 1 trillion in shareholder value.
Wall Street's violent swings in recent weeks are part of the market's ongoing "bottoming" process, analysts say, in which the market retests the lows hit last month. The market is expected to remain volatile, as evidenced by past recoveries from a bear market.
The volatility helped send government bond prices higher as investors looked for safety. The three-month Treasury bill's yield fell to 0.14 per cent from 0.20 per cent late on Thursday, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.