Second Day of Big Losses:
Wall Street suffered its second straight selloff on Thursday after retailers issued the weakest sales reports this decade and as the markets brace for another ugly employment report due on Friday. The massive back-to-back waves of selling carved more than 900 points from the Dow, its worst two-day point decline in history.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 443.48 points, or 4.85%, to 8695.79, the broader S&P 500 dropped 47.89 points, or 5.03%, to 904.88 and the Nasdaq Composite slid 72.94 points, or 4.34%, to 1608.70. The consumer-friendly FOX 50 fell 35.76 points, 4.93%, to 688.95.
The two-day percentage drop on the Dow is the index's steepest since October 1987 and comes after Tuesday's election-day record 300-point surge. Analysts said the losses were less of a reaction to the election of Barack Obama -- which was widely expected by Wall Street -- but more likely an indictment of the economic situation that will greet him when he takes office in January.
“Unfortunately that honeymoon period wasn’t very long," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co. “Obviously it's a very historic time. We’ve got a president who’s going to hit the ground running. He’s also got historic problems in front of him."
The plunge in the stock market follows last week's massive 1,000-point surge on the Dow -- its best weekly performance in 34 years.
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