Trader William Long at work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
The stock market is revisiting last week’s extreme volatility, with the Dow Jones average plummeting 471 points in the first two hours of trading Thursday. Update: At the closing bell, the Dow was down about 419 points, 3.7 percent, to roughly 10,990.
The decline comes on the heels of a big sell-off in Europe and amid the release of a number of U.S. government reports that clearly made investors uneasy, showing things like increased joblessness, low manufacturing activity and high levels of inflation due to gasoline prices. —BF
The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims for last week rose more than expected to 408,000. The uptick prompted Joshua Dennerlein, an economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to warn in a note about the broader fallout to the economy if unemployment benefits expire.
“At the end of this year, the federally funded unemployment programs are set to expire and this will cause over 3.5 million workers to lose their weekly unemployment insurance payments,” Dennerlein wrote. “After the expiration, only a quarter of the nation’s unemployed will be collecting UI checks. This will act as a hit to income, hurting consumption growth in the first half of next year.”