U.S. stocks slumped Friday afternoon after opening higher in the last trading session of a turbulent week in which the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunged into correction territory for the first time in two years.
The Dow, the more broad-based S&P 500 and the technology-laden NASDAQ composite were all about one percent lower in afternoon trading.
Earlier Friday, global stock indexes closed out the week in negative territory, deepening the weeklong sell-off. France’s CAC 40 Index fell 1.2 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 Index lost seven-tenths of one percent and Germany’s DAX finished 1.2 percent lower.
Asian benchmarks fell more sharply. China’s Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 4 percent, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 2.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost just over 3 percent.
The U.S. sell-off began a week ago after the U.S. Labor Department reported wages grew rapidly in January, sparking concern of higher inflation and lower corporate profits.
European markets were rattled by a signal from the Bank of England that it may boost interest rates in response to a strong global economy.
Despite this week’s heavy losses, U.S. benchmarks are still posting strong gains over the past year. As of Friday morning, the Dow was 19 percent higher, the S&P was up 12.5 percent and the NASDAQ was ahead by more than 19 percent.
Many Wall Street observers had been expecting a correction — a drop in stock values of 10 percent or more over the most recent record high — because the market is currently in the middle of its second-longest bull run, or market that is expected to rise, of all time. Until now, the booming market had not seen a correction in two years, an unusually long time.