The Nasdaq briefly erases all of its gains for 2018 as stock-market selling ramps up

The Nasdaq Composite Index on Friday briefly gave up all of its gains for 2018 in late afternoon trade, marking a reversal of fortune for the index that has represented risk appetite on Wall Street throughout the market’s brisk rally to records. The Nasdaq [c: COMP] was off 2.5% at 6,904. The Nasdaq was briefly in negative territory for 2018, but was recently clinging to a slight 0.1% year-to-date rise. The index also dropped in negative territory for the year on Monday but recovered those losses over the past three sessions as worries about trade conflicts between China and the U.S. and a technology-driven selloff cooled. However, a proposal by President Donald Trump to impose stiffer tariffs on Beijing has introduced fresh volatility in to the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA-2.34% was off nearly 700 points at its lows, or 2.8% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.19% sank 2.3% at 2,599.

S&P 500 breaks under 200-day moving average, a key technical level

The S&P 500 fell sharply on Friday, with losses accelerating in afternoon trading. The decline took the benchmark index SPX-2.19% below its 200-day moving average, a closely watched technical level that is often used to gauge the long-term momentum in an asset’s price. The S&P fell 2.8% to 2,589.17, dropping below the moving average’s level of 2,593.7. The S&P closed below that level for the first time since June 2016 on Monday, but it subsequently rebounded above it. If the S&P closes below it again, that could spur deeper selling ahead. The Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA, -2.34% lost 3.1% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -2.28% was off 2.8%. The day’s losses were driven by concerns over escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

The Dow is threatening to book its 4th largest daily point plunge in its history

The Dow Jones Industrial Average late Friday afternoon is on the verge of marking its fourth largest point decline in its history as selling pressure intensifies on the back of worries about global trade and monetary-policy tightening by the Federal Reserve. The Dow DJIA, -2.34% was down by as many as 767 points at its nadir, with a decline of that magnitude representing its largest one-day skid since it plunged 1,032 points on Feb. 8, which pushed the blue-chip average into correction territory. A correction is defined as a drop of at least 10% from a recent peak. To be sure, on a percentage basis, the current slide, about a 3% daily drop, doesn’t rank high at all. However, the pullback for the 121-year-old benchmark follows a period of repeated records in 2017 and a blistering start to this year. A fresh flare up in tensions between China and the U.S., with the threat of an all-out trade war at hand, have rattled investors. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Friday that he expected to continue to hike interest rates, lifting borrowing costs for corporations, potentially a bearish factor for the market, even if Wall Street has priced in a further two rate increases in 2018.