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Dow Plunges; Now In Negative Territory For The Year

Stock prices fell on Wall Street today as investors digested the much-weaker-than-expected report on job growth in May.

The damage? The Dow plunged 274 points or 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq fell 80 points or 2.82 percent.

CNN Money reports the Dow had the worst day of 2012, erasing "all its gains for the year."

Update at 4:23 p.m. ET. 'A Little Over Done'?

Our Newscast unit just spoke to James W. Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, who said the market may have overdone it a bit, today.

He said investors reacted to weak job reports but if you look at the average job gains throughout the whole year, "we're still doing decently."

"The economy is in better shape than these numbers," said Paulsen.

If you look at retail sales, consumer spending, housing prices and consumer confidence, you get a picture that is not nearly as weak as the latest job numbers — and the revisions — will have you think.

Four or five times this year, Paulsen said, we've seen the market plunge only to rally later.

Paulsen set up a positive vision, where the market pulls back for a little bit setting itself up for a late-summer rally.

Update at 4:50 p.m. ET. Another Opinion:

Beth Ann Bovino, deputy chief economist at S&P, has a less cheery view of the economy.

Essentially she said the markets were already teetering, wondering whether the uncertainty with Greece and the Spanish Banks would affect the U.S. What the job numbers may tell us, Bovino told our Newscast unit, is that maybe those problems have already landed on our shores.

"The worry here now — and unfortunately it's becoming increasingly real — is that the U.S. economy has started to slow," she said.

And, yes economist expected slower job growth after a warm January accelerated hiring, but the slow-down has been more severe than predicted.

The question now is whether this slow-down is just a summer lull or whether it marks the beginning of a more serious downturn.

Our earlier updates continue:

Update at 4:10 p.m. ET: The Dow has closed 274 points down (2.2 percent).

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET: A half hour, before close, the Dow is down 263 points or 2.1 percent.

Update at 3 p.m. ET: With an hour to go before trading ends in New York City, the Dow is down about 275 points (2.2 percent).

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: The Dow's down about 250 points (2 percent).

Update at 2 p.m. ET: Down further: The Dow's off about 265 points (2.2 percent).

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET: The Dow's down about 235 points (1.9 percent).

Update at 1 p.m. ET: The Dow's down about 220 points (1.8 percent).

Update at Noon ET: The Dow's down about 210 points (1.7 percent).

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: The Dow's still down about 220 points (1.8 percent).

Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. Related Wall Street Journal headline: "Dow's Gains For 2012 Disappear."

Update at 11 a.m. ET: The Dow's down about 220 points (1.8 percent).

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Over the past 30 minutes the Dow stayed down at least 150 points. Now, it's off by just over 200 (or, about 1.7 percent).

Update at 10 a.m. ET: The Dow's down about 200 points (1.6 percent).

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.