US stocks swing back to gains, Dow up 330 on turbulent day

Financial markets have that sinking feeling again

Asian markets fell more sharply.

Elsewhere in Asia on Friday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng pulled back 3.7%, while South Korea's Kospi index traded down 1.6% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.8%.

After huge gains in the first weeks of this year, stocks tumbled Friday after the Labor Department said workers' wages grew at a fast rate in January.

Financial analysts regard corrections as a normal market event but say the unusually abrupt plunge might have been triggered by a combination of events that rattled investors. The blue chip average suffered its second 1,000-point drop in a week on Thursday.

China was the worst performer in Asia on Friday - on track for its worst day in almost two years - as losses deepened from declines seen earlier this week.

In currency markets, the dollar fell to 108.11 yen from Thursday's 108.84 yen.

The central bank may have to more aggressively raise short-term rates to offset the economic stimulus from higher government spending and lower taxes, which also unnerves investors.

On Wall Street, futures for the Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 were down 0.1 percent and up 0.2 percent, respectively, though the actual market open does not always follow the futures closely in times of volatility.

U.S. stock markets confirmed they were in correction territory today after a week of wild swings. That's good for the economy, but investors anxious it will hurt corporate profits and that rising wages are a sign of faster inflation.

On Wall Street, many companies that rose the most over the previous year have borne the brunt of the selling.

Both the Dow and the S & P 500 indices are 10% or more down from their recent peaks, placing them in what market players call 'correction territory: more than temporary weakness, but less than a 'bear market or possible crash. The Nasdaq composite fell 274.82 points, or 3.9 percent, to 6,777.16.

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The sharp falls of the week such as the slumps the Dow Jones and S&P 500 experienced on Monday, confirmed the market was in a correction.

The market, now in its second-longest bull run of all time, had not seen a correction for two years, an unusually long time.

"We may have seen the worst, but it's too early to say for sure".

As well as the broader sell-off, analysts said stocks in China were weighed down by people selling ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. Many market watchers have predicted a pullback for some time, saying stock prices have become too expensive relative to company earnings. "The question is whether there's been some serious damage done, either in terms of breaches of key technical trading levels or a change in overall market sentiment", Morrison said.

Employers are hiring at a healthy pace, with unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. And major economies around the world are growing in tandem for the first time since the Great Recession. The housing industry is solid.

At the same time, higher interest rates can make investment alternatives to stocks, such as bonds, more attractive. It could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a faster pace, which would act as a brake on the economy.

After a sharp loss Wednesday, benchmark USA crude lost 76 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $61.03 a barrel in NY.

The market didn't get much help Thursday from company earnings reports, several of which disappointed investors.

Paris' CAC 40 finished trading 1.4% down at 5,079.21 points, while the EURO STOXX 50 shed 1.5% at 3,255.99 points.

In Europe, Frankfurt has also lost around 11pc from its summit levels, while London and Paris, each down around nine percent from recent peaks, have fared only slightly better. It retreated $70 cents on Thursday to $68.81.

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