It was a bloodbath on Wall Street today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 2.32 percent, or 393 points. The S&P 500 Index declined 2.37 percent, or 47 points, while the Nasdaq fell 3 percent, or 147 points. U.S. stocks are now at three-month lows.
Today's sell-off was global and started today when China’s stock markets halted trading for the second time this week. Chinese equities slid more than 7 percent today after just 29 minutes of trading. China’s Securities Regulatory Commission announced it was suspending its new stock market circuit breaker to control volatility and reverse the sharp declines in markets.
The move did little to settle investors’ anxieties.
Ongoing concerns over China’s slowing economy and falling currency are behind the wild market gyrations. Chinese markets have already lost 10 percent since the start of the year. The Chinese yuan fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 2011.
Investors also pushed down the price of oil and metals in preparation of further drops in Chinese stocks on Friday. Oil prices slipped 1 percent to $33.65 a barrel, briefly trading at 12-year lows. Copper dipped below $2 for the first time since 2009.
Investors fear that a weakened Chinese economy, the second largest in the world, will crimp global growth.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index each lost more than 2 percent today.