Wall Street stocks sold off sharply on Friday, with all three major U.S. stock indexes posting their biggest one-day percentage declines since Jan. 3, as weak factory data from the United States and Europe led to an inversion of U.S. Treasury yields, fuelling fears of a global economic downturn.
Capping five tumultuous days of trading, the S&P 500, the Dow and the Nasdaq were all down for the week.
A weaker-than-expected reading of U.S. factory activity in March, along with similarly dour reports from Europe and Japan, helped send U.S. Treasury yields into an inversion, with the spread between yields of three-month Treasury bills exceeding those of 10-year notes for the first time since 2007.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. Federal Reserve concluded its two-day monetary policy meeting with a statement that forecast no additional interest rate hikes in 2019 on signs of economic softness, a dovish shift that took the markets by surprise. Interest rate-sensitive financial firms fell 2.8 percent, capping their worst week since the late-December sell-off.