Market Plunge Day 2…Yikes

Market Summary

Wall Street tumbled for the second time in as many days on Thursday. Investor attention has shifted quickly from the election to the looming fiscal cliff which could spell economic disaster if no action is taken. Hopefully Congress and the White House can reach a deal to avert the same type of market volatility that was experience during the debt ceiling debate. On the data front (which went completely unnoticed), the U.S. government reported a better-than-expected drop in weekly first-time claims for unemployment benefits as well as a rise in U.S. exports. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 121.41 points, or 0.94 percent, to end at 12,811.32 to finish at its lowest level since late July. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 17.02 points, or 1.22 percent, to 1,377.51, ending at its lowest level since August 2 and off 6 percent of its 52 week high. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 41.70 points, or 1.42 percent, to close at 2,895.58.

Oil for December delivery rebounded after yesterday’s tumble, finishing up 65 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $85.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold rose $12, or 0.7%, to $1,726.00 an ounce.

Economic Rundown

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 8,000 to 355,000 for the week ending November 3rd. Remember, this was the week of Hurricane Sandy, so expect some revisions down the line. The consensus estimate was for 370,000. There were no revisions to the prior week. The trend is still upward with the four-week average up 3,250 to 370,500 which is slightly above month ago levels.

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