NEW YORK (AP) A murky forecast from Intel sent stocks sharply lower yesterday on worries that a recovery would take longer than expected and that the market had risen too high, too fast.
The Dow Jones industrials tumbled more than 200 points to their weakest finish in 1-1/2 months with selling that spread across the market. Analysts said investors were collecting profits rather than risk a loss if an economic turnaround is delayed.
“It’s the combination of an uncertain outlook and the relatively high stock valuations out there right now,” said Matt Brown, head of equity management at Wilmington Trust. “If the market were dirt cheap, investors might be more comfortable taking risks.”
The Dow closed down 211.88, or 2.1 percent, at 9,712.27, its lowest close since Nov. 28, when the index was at 9,711.86. The loss was the biggest point drop since Oct. 29, when the index fell 275.
The decline was more severe for the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index, which slid 56.47, or 2.8 percent, to 1,944.44. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 18.62, or 1.6 percent, to 1,127.57.
The sell-off extended what has been a frustrating string of sessions for Wall Street this month as investors try to gauge the direction of the economy and the market.