Stocks lose momentum a day after Dow's record gain

Stocks lose momentum a day after Dow's record gain

Stocks lose momentum a day after Dow's record gain

The Dow was whirling between slightly negative to 200 points up in the first hours of Wednesday's session before its early afternoon lift on the tails of surging blue chips Apple, Home Depot, Microsoft, Visa and Nike.

Buying slowed in early December in part because an unusually early Thanksgiving made it harder for retailers to sustain sales through the entire holiday shopping period, analysts and consultants said.

The previous record point gain for the Dow was 936.42 on October 13, 2008, when markets were whipsawed nearly daily by developments in the financial crisis, which was then in full swing.

The lackluster finish to 2018 comes as most economists expect growth to slow in 2019, though not by enough to slide into a full-blown recession.

Even so, traders have been jittery this autumn over signs that the global economy is slowing, the escalating US trade dispute with China and another interest rate increase by the Fed. "The concerns are government shutdown, the economy, the President - what time is he going to tweet out about Federal Reserve", said Larry Benedict, founder of the Opportunistic Trader in Boca Raton, Florida. Unemployment is at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969.

Stocks are down sharply Thursday, making the prior day's strong performance seem like an aberration, as Wall Street stumbles toward what could be its worst December since the Great Depression.

Elsewhere, U.S. home price growth slowed in October, a likely effect of higher mortgage rates having worsened affordability and causing sales to fall. Among big retailers, Amazon rose 9.4 percent, Kohl's 10.3 percent and Nordstrom 5.8 percent.

Other members of the FANG group, Facebook Inc (FB.O), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), which has also been under pressure recently, rose between 0.4 percent and 2.8 percent.

Risk Indicators: The VIX, shown as a bar chart, has come down from recent highs, and Treasury yields, as represented by a purple line showing the 10-year Treasury Index, have risen.

Retail, technology, and energy stocks were among the best performers.

While U.S. stocks are still headed for their first annual loss in almost a decade, Wednesday's trading has brought early glints of relief as a new year approached. After the shortened trading had been completed on Christmas eve, with a considerable decline of nearly three per cent, showed the rate table is now at the Sounding of the closing bell, a substantial increase of 4.98% to 22 878,45 points. Korean shares tumbled after a holiday, and Shanghai stocks fell for a second day. Benchmark Brent crude increased more than 8.5 percent to more than $54 per barrel.

The dollar fell to 110.69 yen from 111.36 yen on Wednesday. Copper fell 1.2 percent to $2.67 a pound. The euro advanced to $1.1456 from $1.1430.

European markets were also mixed, with Frankfurt's DAX showing a small gain, while the FTSE 100 (London) and the CAC 40 (Paris) moved lower.

At the start of Wednesday's trading, all the major indexes were in or close to a bear market.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rebounded 3.4 percent to 19,986.32. The Hang Seng index was 0.7 percent higher at 25,819.22.

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