Markets Right Now: Stocks plunge, erasing gains for the year

Dow drops more than 500 points on weak bellwethers

The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 4.4 percent Wednesday, the most in more than seven years, erasing nearly $33 billion from the fortunes of technology's 61 richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bond prices continued to rise, sending yields lower.

'Investors are on pins and needles, ' said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. "We also reached a potential peak for earnings - companies that show marginal weakness take a beating". Recent data showing the housing market is slowing have also fueled speculation that US economic growth will start to slow next year. Caterpillar and 3M slumped Tuesday after the companies warned of rising costs. The industrial manufacturer said it expects raw material prices to continue climbing, and for tariffs to have a roughly $100 million negative impact on the company's sourcing costs next year. "You're really starting to get more of a groundswell of caution".

USA stocks plunged again on Wednesday, confirming a correction for the Nasdaq and erasing the Dow and S&P 500's gains for the year, as disappointing forecasts from chipmakers and weak home sales data fueled jitters about economic and profit growth. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.4 percent and the Kospi in South Korea gave up 0.4 percent.

Germany's DAX slid 2.2 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 1.7 percent lower. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 17 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,509.

Energy stocks fell 3.50 percent, the most among the sectors, as oil prices plunged after Saudi Arabia said it could supply more crude quickly if needed, easing concerns ahead of US sanctions on Iran.

The Nasdaq also fell more than 4.4% to 7,108.4 points amid concerns about weak corporate profits, trade tensions and other uncertainties.

Bond prices rose, sending yields lower. The slide in bond yields came as traders sought out assets traditionally viewed as safe-havens.

Behind the slump is a broad-based sell-off among tech and media companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher thanks to the gain in Boeing.

TARIFFS TROUBLE: Shares in iRobot gave up 12.8 percent to $80.05 percent after the robotics technology company said tariffs will reduce its profitability in the fourth quarter.

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Meghan and Harry and enjoyed an idyllic "babymoon" last night on one of the world's most attractive rainforest islands. And the couple has also planned their trip to Fiji and Tonga around the current Zika virus risk.

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The pair, who have been together for six years, said "I do" in front of fewer than 80 guests, reports People . The couple had a small, Jewish ceremony of about 80 guests in upstate NY .

3M fell 6.7 percent to $187.96 after its earnings missed Wall Street's targets.

Chip companies also sank following a disappointing forecast from Texas Instruments, which dropped 8.2 per cent. AT&T, however, reported a 7.5 percent drop in quarterly results.

Tech shares were among those hardest hit, with Amazon falling 5.9%, Facebook down 5.4%, Google owner Alphabet off 4.8% and Netflix sinking 9.4%. Several homebuilders declined following the release of the report.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 4.2 percent to settle at $66.43 per barrel in NY.

The pickup in oil prices helped lift energy stocks. Helped by tax cuts, the economy expanded at a 4.2 percent annual pace from April through June, fastest in almost four years. Natural gas declined 1.4 percent to $3.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Stocks have been shaky for weeks as investors have anxious about global growth, potential impacts from trade disputes, and the Fed's determination to raise interest rates. "The economy is on solid footing", analysts at BNP Paribas wrote Wednesday.

The central bank, which so far lifted rates five times since July 2017, tweaked its standard language on future hikes, dropping previous references to the gradual pace of tightening. Traders also had to deal with reports that potential bombs were sent to two former US presidents and the NY headquarters of CNN. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 0.3 percent to $76.67 per barrel in London.

Heating oil was little changed at $2.25 a gallon. The stock gained 5.7 percent to $176.16.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 112.51 yen from 112.47 yen on Tuesday.

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