Stocks plummet in late trading but end May higher

May 31, 2013 • Business

In this Tuesday, May 28, 2013, photo, Traders gather at the post that handles Hertz on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Stock futures slumped on the final trading day of May, with new data showing that consumers pulled back from their breakneck spending pace in April. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — A gradual decline in the stock market turned into a rout Friday.

After moving between small losses and gains for most of the day, the stock market plunged in the final hour of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 200 points, half of them in the last 15 minutes. It was the worst drop in six weeks.

Some traders said the afternoon swoon came as large investors rearranged their holdings to match changes in the widely followed MSCI indexes. Others said rapid-fire automated sell programs kicked in as the decline accelerated, exacerbating the loss.

By late Friday, the market looked like it was “feeding on itself,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. “Why did we go from trading flat to down 200 points at the close? It suggests to me that it was driven by computer models.”

The market managed to hold on to gains for the month, Login to read more

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