Stock Sell-Off Takes Key Sectors Into or Near Bear Markets

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U.S. stocks fell 2 percent on Friday, extending a recent decline that has threatened to push key sectors and segments of the equity market into bear-market territory as concerns mounted over the health of the global economy. The day’s losses were widespread, with all 11 of the primary S&P 500 sectors in negative territory.

According to Bloomberg data, more than half the components of the S&P 500 — 259 companies — are now at least 20 percent below their 52-week highs, putting them below the threshold that signifies a bear market.

Notably, Friday’s decline took the S&P 500 financial sector 20 percent below a peak reached in late January.

The S&P 500 Energy Sector fell 2.4 percent on Friday, and is now about 21 percent below an Oct. 9 peak.

The S&P 500 Materials sector fell 0.8 percent. The industry is currently off about 20.4 percent from a January peak, though it had already been trading in bear-market territory, having dropped past the 20 percent threshold in October.

Other sectors aren’t far from a similar magnitude of declines. The S&P 500 industrial sector is down about 17 percent from its 52-week high, and technology — a driver behind recent broad-market losses — is 15 percent below its record. The Dow Jones Transportation Index, consider a barometer for economic activity, has dropped more than 17 percent from mid-September.

More broadly, the Russell 2000 index and the S&P Small Cap 600 Index are both down about 19 percent and the S&P 400 Midcap Index is about 15 percent lower.

The S&P 500 closed nearly 12 percent below its record, the Dow Jones Industrial Average less than 11 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index about 15 percent. All three are in correction territory, or off at least 10 percent from a peak.

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