Stocks Sell Off, Dow Drops 282 Points

Investors are unpacking disappointing U.S. retail sales data

Assistant Editor
Aug 17, 2021 at 4:30 PM
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Stocks took a beating today, with the Dow shedding 282 points and the S&P 500 logging its worst single-session drop since July 19. Both indexes snapped five-day win streaks in the process, as weak U.S. retail sales data and rising Covid-19 cases weighed on Wall Street. The Nasdaq closed deep in the red as well, tumbling triple digits as FAANG stocks continue to struggle. In turn, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), Wall Street's "fear gauge," roared back to life, nabbing its highest single-day percentage gain since July 19.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • Spirit Airlines stock grounded after a slashed forecast.
  • Cisco stock pulls back ahead of earnings. 
  • Plus, Hyatt Hotels stock sinks despite bull note; why analysts snubbed Paysafe stock; and unpacking Home Depot's earnings.

The Dow Jones Average (DJI - 35, 343.28) fell 282.1 points, or 0.8% for the day. Merck (MRK) topped the small list of blue-chip winners, rising 1.2%, while Home Depot (HD) fell 4.3% to pace the laggards.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 4,448.08) shed 31.6 points, or 0.7% for the day. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 14,656.18) lost 137.6 points, or 0.9%, for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 17.91) rose 1.8 point, or 11.1%, for the day. 

Closing summary 0817

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  1. In an effort to help families hit hardest by the pandemic, many states have added or improved earned income tax credits. (CNBC)
  2. SNAP benefits will soon hit an all-time high, with the 42 million families that rely on government help for food to see an increase of 25% more per month. (MarketWatch)
  3. A rare bull note could not save Hyatt Hotels stock.
  4. Paysafe stock hit with a flurry of price-target cuts.
  5. Comparable-store sales miss sinks Home Depot stock.

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Oil Prices Continue Retreat

Oil prices fell again, dragged down by demand woes in Asia amid a resurgence of Covid-19 cases. In addition, despite earlier pleas from U.S. President Joe Biden, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) said the market does not need any more crude. As a result, September-dated crude lost 70 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $66.59.

Gold prices fell as well, thanks to anxiety surrounding the Delta variant and weaker U.S. bond yields, with the the latter falling near a two-week low. Meanwhile, new regulation in China, paired with the Afghanistan crisis, also dented the appeal of bullion, which is usually considered a safe bet during times of political and financial uncertainty. December-dated gold shed $2.00, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,787.80 an ounce today.

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