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CNN Business

The third quarter is about to end – and investors have been wishing well for the past nine months. Stocks fell on Thursday, giving up many of Wednesday’s big gains. The Dow fell nearly 460 points, or 1.5%.

The Dow is now back in a bear market, more than 20% below the all-time high it set in January. The S&P 500, one of the broadest measures of the health of Corporate America, slipped 2.1% on Thursday, hitting a new low for the year. The Dow and S&P 500 are again not far from their lowest levels since November 2020.

The high-tech Nasdaq Composite fell 2.8% on Thursday and fell more than the Dow and S&P in 2022. Major stock exchanges in the UK, Europe and Asia have also fallen sharply this year.

The stock market had an optimistic start to the quarter, rising in July. But fears of inflation, rising rates, rising bond yields and a recession came with a vengeance in August and September.

A drop in weekly jobless claims spooked investors on Thursday. The job market remains relatively healthy, even as the broader economy has slowed. Traders are betting that the strength of the labor market will keep pressure on the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates aggressively for the rest of this year and into 2023.

CNN’s Fear & Business Index, which measures seven indicators of market sentiment, went further into Extreme Fear territory.

It’s not just stocks that are in decline. It is the bear market for almost everything. There are few places investors could run and hide this year. Bond yields have risen, which means prices are down. That weight on returns.

Bonds are supposed to be safe havens during times of market and economic volatility. But two popular bond funds, the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (BND) and the iShares Core US Aggregate ETF (AGG), are down nearly 16% in 2022.

Do you think gold is a good place to ride the storm? The price of the yellow metal is down 10% this year. And forget about cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin prices fell off a cliff, falling almost 60% in 2022.

Still, there are some winners even in this brutal market environment. Oil prices are up for the year, partly due to supply concerns in Europe as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Energy giant Chevron (CVX) is the best-performing stock in the Dow this year while Warren Buffett-backed Occidental Petroleum (OXY) leads the S&P 500.

Health care stocks, typically a defensive sector that stands up better during tough economic times, performed well. Pharma giant Merck (MRK), biotech Amgen (AMGN) and insurer UnitedHealth (UNH) are up this year and are the top stocks in the Dow after Chevron.

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