Dow plunges 500 points with growing investor fear

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 15, 2016 at 1:39 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. stock trading plunge nearly 500 points Friday, a new three-month low, as oil prices dropped below $30 a barrel and nervous investors continued to fret about a Chinese stock selloff.

The rebound Thursday appeared to be short-lived as heavy selling resumed Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 450 points to dip below the average 16,000 level. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell as well Friday, briefly trading 3.5 percent lower in midday, below its August low of 1,867. The energy sector, including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, were among the worst performers. China's Shanghai Composite fell 3.6 percent, edging close to bear market territory, analysts said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, in a rare comment about the market, said the movements are "closely watched at the Treasury Department."

"They watch financial markets all around the world and are carefully evaluating what sort of impact they could have on the broader economy here in the United States. I don't know that the president has necessarily been briefed on today's movements," he said.

Despite the market corrections, Omega Advisors CEO and hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman told CNBC, "I'm not selling."

"I'm holding on because I do believe this is a growth scare and not a bear market," he said, adding the nation's strong jobs market makes a bear market unlikely.

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