Washington’s budget fight jolted investors on Friday, reminding them that the next few weeks could bring a lot of uncertainty. Wall Street hates uncertainty.
Stocks fell in an afternoon sell-off that wiped out most of the gains from a rally earlier this week, when the Federal Reserve decided to keep its huge economic stimulus program intact.
Major indexes were mixed in morning trading, but turned lower around midday after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 185.46 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 15,451.09. That was 225 points below its all-time closing high reached Sept. 18 after the Fed’s announcement.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 12.43 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,709.91. All 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 fell, led lower by telecom companies and utilities.
Treasury note fell to 2.74 percent from 2.76.