U.S. stocks traded sharply lower Thursday morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 200 points after oil prices tumbled to near $40 a barrel. The S&P 500 turned negative for the year after all 10 sectors traded lower, led by a 1.5 percent decline in financial stocks.
The losses in financial stocks were fueled by fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve may wait until after September to raise interest rates, a delay due to global growth concerns. Policy makers need more confidence that inflation is moving toward their goal before the Fed will lift rates, minutes released a day earlier from the central bank’s July meeting showed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) tumbled 202.37 points, or 1.17 percent, to 17,146.36. The S&P 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) lost 22.07 points, or 1.06 percent, to 2,057.30. And the Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dropped 72.56 points, or 1.44 percent, to 4,945.77.