It's been a day of steady declines as poor economic data came out. Initial claims improved, but are still a far cry from good, and the U.S. manufacturing sector showed slowing growth. It's a better showing than China, which saw its manufacturing shrink this month. And new data confirms the eurozone's contracting economy is as bad as you think. Enter Goldman Sachs, which seemingly gave the markets a push over the edge after recommending investors short S&P 500.
That said, let's take a closer look at how the three major indexes are faring.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)
Source: Yahoo! Finance as of 1:35 p.m. EDT.
The major U.S. indexes have given up ground all day, with the Nasdaq leading the charge into negative territory. All of today's chaos has the market's "fear index" soaring back in a big way; the VIX (NYS: ^VIX) is up over 10% today, at least temporarily breaking out of its seemingly never-ending decline. With the Federal Reserve content to merely maintain the status quo, we may be in for a long summer.
No sector is getting hammered as badly as energy today. Even the big names are feeling it: Dow components ExxonMobil (NYS: XOM) and Chevron (NYS: CVX) are two of the index's worst performers, down 2.8% and 2.4%, respectively. Small players like Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYS: KOG) are feeling it worse. Its shares are down 7%, as lower oil prices have a greater impact due to the company's higher-cost operations. If global economies are cooling -- and China's manufacturing decline is probably the most troublesome news here -- then commodities will see less demand. Oil has dropped under $80 per barrel for the first time since last fall, and the average price at the pump -- currently $3.47 per gallon -- is expected to continue to decline even into the summer months.
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The article Why the Dow Is Plunging originally appeared on Fool.com.
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