The stock market suffered its second-worst beating of the year after coming under pressure from a variety of sources — dismal economic reports, more trouble in Europe and an ominous warning from Goldman Sachs.
Major indexes lost nearly 2 percent apiece, with the Nasdaq tech gauge registering the biggest drop.
All 10 sectors fell on the S&P 500, with energy — its exchange-traded fund proxy, the SPDR Energy lost more than 4 percent — and materials getting the worst of it.
It was the second time in three weeks the Dow dropped more than 250 points in a single session, with the bleeding contained only by gains from Merck .
Bad economic news kicked off the day and only got worse. That just exacerbated trader disappointment that the Federal Reserve, following its policy meeting Wednesday, had nothing more to offer the market than a continuation of its Operation Twist program of selling short-dated bonds and using the proceeds to buy longer-duration securities.
Some in the market expected more quantitative easing to help boost the flagging economy.
"We're just not in a period of expansion now," said Andre Julian, CFO and senior market strategist at OWM Asset Management in Newport Beach, Calif. "A lot of people were looking for more from the Fed. A lot more was priced in. A lot of investors are expecting QE now."Page 1 of 5 | Next Page