In a wild year for stocks, five days stand out as the craziest of 2018.
On February 5, 6, 8 and 9, and on December 26, the Dow traded in a 1,000-point range or more. That's only happened eight times in history. The fact that five of those days took place this year tells you everything you need to know about 2018.
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February 5: Biggest decline in history
The Dow closes 1,175 points lower, the first time in history the Dow falls by more than 1,000 points. It could have been much worse.
Just before 3 pm the Dow is down 600 points. Then, in the span of just 10 minutes, the Dow falls 800 more points. At its trough, the Dow is down 1,597 points — the most points the Dow has ever fallen in a single trading day.
By the time the market closes at 4 pm, the Dow recovers slightly.
Investors react negatively to the jobs report from earlier in the day, which shows paychecks creeping higher. That worries investors that the Federal Reserve will have to hike rates faster than expected.
February 6: Mirror-image drop and gain
The Dow plunges 567 points at the open, briefly sinking into correction territory — a drop of 10% from its record high.
Exacerbating the decline was the outright collapse of the XIV, then the most popular inverse volatility fund on the market. After spiking 188% during the historic calm of 2017, It loses almost 100% of its value before the market opens.
But the Dow's losses quickly vanish, and the index ends the day with a mirror-image gain of 567. It is the Dow's biggest daily point increase since August 2015 and, at the time, the fourth-largest in history.
February 8: Another 1,000-point plunge
For the second time in a week, the Dow plunges more than 1,000 points, putting the index back into a correction.
The 10-year Treasury yield, a decent indicator of inflation fears, briefly hits a four-year high. The VIX, a measure of market volatility, nears its highest level since August 2015.
The Dow finishes the day down 1,033 points.
February 9: More big swings
Capping off a week of violent volatility, the Dow rises as much as 500 points and falls as much as 500 points. It finally settles 330 points higher.
The S&P 500 briefly moves below its 200-day moving average, a key measure of market health that could have triggered more selling. Still, the Dow falls about 5.2%, or 1,300 points, on the week — the worst weekly decline in two years.
December 26: Biggest point increase in history
On the day after Christmas, there's not a lot of news to drive markets. President Trump is in Iraq to visit service members. There are no major economic data points for investors to chew on.
So the Dow has its biggest day ever, rising a stunning 1,086 points — a 5% rise. The Nasdaq hurtles 5.8%, pulling out of bear market territory. The S&P 500 also soars 5%. All but one of 505 stocks in the S&P 500 end the day higher.
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