US stocks end Q3 with sell-off

Wall Street stocks endured another round of selling Thursday, finishing the third quarter on a sour note amid worries over political uncertainty in Washington.

Congress managed to avert a government shutdown, with the House and Senate approving in a bipartisan fashion a stopgap bill to fund the government several hours before the end of the fiscal year, when the government would have shut down without an agreement.

But yawning differences over raising the debt ceiling and President Joe Biden’s sweeping infrastructure and social spending agenda remain unresolved.

“There are a lot of things that still need to be worked out,” said Tom Cahill, a portfolio strategist at Ventura Wealth Management, who said the array of unknowns “is definitely weighing on the market.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.6 percent to 33,843.33.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 1.2 percent to 4,307.44, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4 percent to 14,448.58.

The S&P 500 mustered a 0.2 percent gain for the quarter, but both the Dow and Nasdaq fell modestly.

The losses — which were not as steep as those suffered in Tuesday’s rout of a session — followed data showing a rise in unemployment claims for the third straight week.

Among individual companies, Acceleron Pharma fell 1.8 percent after it announced an agreement to be acquired by Merck for $11.5 billion. Shares of Acceleron had risen earlier in the week following reports of the likely deal. Merck was flat.

Bed Bath & Beyond plunged 22.2 percent as the company reported disappointing quarterly results and cut its forecast, citing a “challenging environment” caused by the fast-spreading Delta variant of Covid-19. (AFP)