U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday, ending the worst quarter since the economic recession, as investors found few reasons to buy in the market amid gloomy economic outlook and European debt woes.
The past quarter was disastrous for Wall Street. The blue-chip Dow plunged about 12 percent, the worst since the first quarter of 2009, while the broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 14 percent and 12 percent respectively, the biggest declines since the last quarter of 2008, when the economy was at the height of the latest financial crisis.
A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, on Sept. 30, 2011. U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday, ending the worst quarter since the economic recession, as investors found little reason to buy in the market amid gloomy economic outlook and European debt woes. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
Friday's sell-off came even after better-than-expected reports on both consumer sentiment and manufacturing sectors, as investors booked profits and sold whatever they could to make their portfolio look healthy at the last day of a terrible quarter.
Data showed the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment climbed to 59.4 this month, higher than estimates.
Manufacturing activity in the Chicago region, meanwhile, expanded at a more rapid pace, rising to 60.4 in September from 56.5 in August.
An earlier report also showed consumer spending was restrained by lower incomes. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in August, basically in line with market expectation, while income slipped 0.1 percent, the first decline since October 2009.
As of Friday's close, the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 240.60 points, or 2.16 percent, to 10,913.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 plummeted 28.98 points, or 2.50 percent, to 1,131.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 65.36 points, or 2.63 percent, to 2,415.40.
For oil, light, sweet crude for November delivery tumbled 2.94 U.S. dollars, or 3.58 percent, to settle at 79.20 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 10.82 percent for the month and 17 percent for the quarter.
In London, Brent crude for November delivery slipped 1.19 dollars, or 1.14 percent, to close at 102.76 dollars a barrel. For this month, it tumbled 10.53 percent. And for the quarter, it was down 8.64 percent, the biggest decline in five quarters.
In the monetary market, the U.S. dollar rose against most major currencies in late New York trading on Friday, with the dollar index rising 0.7 percent to 78.58.