U.S. Stocks Lower as Japanese Shares Fall 5%; Dow Jones Down Over 100 Points

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U.S. stocks were lower on Tuesday as volatility in financial markets continues to grip Asia. Shares in the U.S. opened lower before recovering slightly and tumbling once again. Tuesday’s choppy trading is being largely fueled by oil weakness and global market turmoil that drove Japanese shares down over 5% overnight.

The Dow doubled over 100 points (0.6%) to 15,927. The NASDAQ composite retreated 0.4%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.5%.

The indexes retreated after financial market turmoil spread throughout Europe and Asia. Japanese stocks plummeted over 5% as investors flocked to safe haven assets. The yen reached its highest level against the dollar in over 12 months.

Technology stocks offset earlier session gains. The S&P 500’s index of technology companies was flat, falling from an earlier increase of 0.9%. Energy shares continued to fall.

Oil prices rallied briefly earlier in the session, but lost most of its gains after the international energy agency released a report stating that the oil supply glut will continue until the end of 2016. U.S. crude oil slipped $.15 to $29.85 a barrel after reaching as high as $30.61 a barrel earlier in the day.

Over in Europe, stocks fell for the seventh straight session to its lowest level in two years. Brent crude prices continued to decline amid sharp falls in the banking and mining sectors. In 2016, the banking sector in Europe has fallen 26%, driven by concerns about nonperforming loans and profitability.

The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.1% after bouncing between losses and gains earlier in the session.

The Nikkei Stock Average in Japan closed the day down over 5%, while stocks in Australia dropped 2.9%. Several Asian markets are still closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Tuesday’s choppy trading followed Monday’s rocky session, during which banks closed down 4%.

Persistent selling by investors is mounting up to significant losses on Wall Street in 2016. Thus far, the Dow is down 8%, the NASDAQ is 14.5% lower, and the S&P 500 has lost 9.3%.

Investors are also concerned that more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve will only worsen market volatility and the current economic slowdown. Investors will be keeping a close eye on Janet Yellen’s testimony on Wednesday for signs of whether the central bank plans on raising rates during its March policy meeting.

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