Stocks plunged Thursday after the Labor Department reported that jobless claims increased and investors continued to be concerned that Europe’s debt crisis is spreading.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 376.36, or 3.6%, at 10,068.01; the S&P 500 fell 43.46, or 3.9%, ending at 1,071.59; and the Nasdaq composite closed down 94.36, or 4.11%, at 2,204.01. All numbers are preliminary.
Initial jobless claims rose by 25,000 to 471,000 in the week ended May 15, the highest level in a month, according to Labor Department figures issued Thursday. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance and those getting extended payments dropped.
All 30 Dow stocks were down more than 0.9%, while all but six of the S&P 500 companies declined. The cumulative advance-decline line for securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange reached its lowest level since at least July 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The stock decline on Wednesday wiped out the 2010 gain for the S&P 500, as Germany’s ban on some bearish investments and a jump in mortgage foreclosures triggered a flight from equities. France, the Netherlands and Finland said they have no plans to follow German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to control what she called “destructive” markets.