Dow Ends Worst Week Ever with Wild Swings

The Dow ended its worst week ever with its first-ever 1,000-point daily swing.

The Dow plunged 700 points at the open on Friday, rebounded twice to post a gain of 300 points at one point, then settled back to end the day with a 128-point loss, down 1.5% to 8451. The Dow traded between 7882 and 8901 on the day, its first time trading below 8000 in 5 1/2 years.

The Dow’s 18.2% loss for the week was the worst in the index’s 112-year history, and the S&P had its worst week since 1933. A stunning 73% of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange ended the day at a new 52-week low.

The Nasdaq managed to end the day with a small gain, but its 15% loss on the week was its worst week in 7 years, since the 2000-2002 “tech wreck.”

Behind the historic volatility and losses has been an equally historic financial crisis. On Friday, traders fretted about the fate of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), then bought stocks after a Lehman Brothers credit default swap auction produced no casualties. Traders were also hoping that weekend meetings of global financial leaders could produce more sweeping responses to the crisis, including direct investments in financial companies and inter-bank loan guarantees to get credit markets moving again.

The day included both big winners and losers. GE (NYSE: GE) gained 13% on results that weren’t as bad as feared. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) jumped 9% as bargain hunters scooped up the stock, and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) rose on speculation that the company may use the beaten-down market to make acquisitions. eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) gained 4.8%.

But Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) ended the day with losses of 6% and 8%, respectively.

The Nasdaq added 4 to 1649, the S&P fell 10 to 899, and the Dow lost 128 to 8451. Volume rose to a record 11.5 billion shares on the NYSE, and 4.25 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 23-12 margin on the NYSE, and 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 64% on the NYSE, and 60% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 15-2631 on the NYSE, and 6-1710 on the Nasdaq.

Note: The Market Close will return on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

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