Never before has Wall Street gotten off to a worse start to a year. The stock market capped the first two weeks of 2016 with a steep slide Friday that sent the Dow Jones industrial average down nearly 400 points. All three major stock indexes — the Dow, the Nasdaq composite and the Standard & Poor’s 500 — are now in what’s known as a correction, or a drop of 10 percent or more from their recent peaks.
The hope was global growth would stabilize, and 2016 here, that has been a disappointment, too.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
The market has been on a stomach-churning ride since the start of the year, wrenched up — but mostly down — because of alarm over a slowdown in China and the plunging price of oil to its lowest level in 12 years. Investors are already seeing damage to U.S. corporate profits, particularly at energy companies. The Dow and S&P 500 have now fallen about 8 percent this year, while the Nasdaq is off about 10 percent. Investors also got some discouraging economic news on Friday: The Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, dropped in December for the third month in a row. And another government report indicated U.S. retail sales dipped last month. Despite the rough start to the year, Wall Street watchers are not ready to say the bull market is over.