Wall Street plunges on Friday as risk-off returns, records decisive gains for the week

  • CBOE Volatility Index rises more than 3% on Friday.
  • Technology erases more than 1.5% to lead losses.
  • The barrel of WTI falls to its lowest level in 9 months below $60.

The losses witnessed in global equity indexes on Friday forced Wall Street to start the day on a weak note and close in the negative territory. The CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street's fear gauge, rose more than 3% today to show that investors stayed away from risky assets.

Commenting on the impact of concerns over a slowdown in global economic growth, "When you look overseas, there's not just concerns about a global slowdown, but a global recession that might be brewing. When overseas markets slow down, U.S. economy might be okay, but global corporations, with currency translation and revenue growth challenges, get hit," said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer of Santa Ana, California-based First American Trust.

The gloomy economic outlook and rising supply dragged oil prices for the tenth straight day today. The barrel of West Texas Intermediate broke below the $60 mark for the first time since early February and the S&P 500 Energy Index erased 0.4%. 

Apple's sharp fall on Friday weighed on the S&P 500 Technology Index, which is also a risk-sensitive sector, and caused it to close 1.66% lower. On the other hand, the so-called defensive sectors, the S&P 500 Real Estate and Utilities, closed the day modestly higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased 201.59 points, or 0.77%, to 25,989.63, the S&P 500 dropped 25.7 points, or 0.92%, to 2,781.13 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 123.98 points, or 1.65%, to 7,406.90. For the week, these three indexes closed 2.8%, 2.1%, and 0.7% higher, respectively.

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