Volatility returns to US stocks – Fox Business

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Volatility has returned to U.S. stocks after a sharply higher open on Friday, extending a roller-coaster week that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching record-setting point swings.

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Friday marked the sixth day in a row that the Dow has swung more than 500 points from the day’s high to its low. The only time when there were more consecutive days of such large point swings was on Oct. 17, 2008, during the financial crisis when there were seven such days in a row.

While the major U.S. stock indexes oscillated between gains and losses before the opening bell, shortly before trading was scheduled to open they moved into positive territory and continued that momentum through the open. But, after turning mixed – in the afternoon session the major stocks were well in the red, with the Dow posting triple-digit losses.

Before market open, the index had dropped roughly 2,700 points since last Friday. Positive economic factors such as low unemployment and rising wages have investors thinking that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates.

Friday afternoon the S&P 500 was testing its 200-day moving average, a key technical indicator of the long-term trend. If the S&P 500 breaks below its 200-day moving average, it could trigger another round of automatic selling by computer algorithms.

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Oil prices also slid on Friday, and S&P component energy stocks Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Baker Hughes were experiencing big sell-offs. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were down almost 4% Friday, with prices now below $60 per barrel.

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According to Baker Hughes’ latest rig count, released Friday afternoon, U.S. drillers added 26 oil rigs this week, boosting the count to 791. This is the highest level of drilling activity since April 2015.