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Stock Selloff Resumes as Dow Slides 313 Points

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index declined sharply on Thursday.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market continued lower on Thursday after a surge in jobless claims raised doubts about the health of the economic recovery.

Wall Street’s major indices were lower at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 313.26 points, or 0.9%, to 34,715.39.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 1.1% to settle at 4,482.73. Most sectors finished in negative territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) plunged 1.3% to close at 14,154.02.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) rose on Thursday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday high of 25.43 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle up 7.8% at 25.70.

In commodities, oil prices rose on Thursday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $86.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, fell $1.06, or 1.2%, to $87.38 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices declined, as the February futures contract fell $4.60, or 0.3%, to $1,840.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures rose 27 cents, or 1.1%, to trade at $24.50 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, U.S. jobless claims rose sharply for the week ending Jan. 15, hitting 286,000 from 231,000 the week before. Separately, existing-home sales fell 4.6% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.18 million units.