Dow Jones Industrials Take Second Straight 2-Percent Plunge

NEW YORK (AP) -

Another day of big losses knocked U.S. stocks to their lowest levels in more than a year Monday.

Selling was widespread. Investors dumped high-growth technology and retail companies as well as steadier, high-dividend companies. Hospitals and health insurers slumped after a federal judge in Texas ruled that the 2010 Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 507 points after a 496-point drop Friday, and all the major stock indexes fell at least 2 percent. Oil closed below $50 a barrel for the first time since October 2017. Bonds rose and their yields fell.

The S&P 500 skidded 54.01 points, or 2.1 percent, at 2,545.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 507.53 points, or 2.1 percent, to 23,592.98. The Nasdaq composite fell 156.93 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,753.73. The Russell 2000 index dipped 32.97 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,378.14.

Following the health care ruling, hospital operator HCA dropped 2.8 percent to $123.1 and health insurer UnitedHealth lost 2.6 percent to $258.07. Centene, a health insurer that focuses on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance exchanges, fell 4.8 percent to $121.42 and Molina skidded 8.9 percent to $120.

Many experts expect the ruling will be overturned, but with the markets suffering steep declines in recent months, investors didn’t appear willing to wait.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.6 percent to $49.88 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 1.1 percent to $59.61 a barrel in London. Weaker economic growth would mean less demand for oil, and traders have been concerned there is too much supply on the market. That’s chopped oil prices by one-third since early October.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.86 percent from 2.89 percent.

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again Wednesday, the fourth increase of this year. It’s been raising rates over the last three years, and investors will want to know if the Fed is scaling back its plans for further increases based on the turmoil in the stock market over the last few months and mounting evidence that world economic growth is slowing down.

Germany’s DAX lost 0.9 percent. That means the DAX, which represents Europe’s largest single economy, is also in a bear market.