US STOCKS-Wall St ends sharply lower, S&P below key support level

jueves 25 de septiembre de 2014 16:28 GYT

* Indexes off: Dow 1.5 pct, S&P 1.6 pct, Nasdaq 1.9 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended with sharp losses on Thursday, with the S&P 500 suffering its biggest one-day decline since July, as Apple tumbled and the dollar rose to a four-year high.

The day's decline was broad, with all ten primary S&P 500 sectors lower on the day and most down more than 1 percent. About 80 percent of stocks traded on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq ended lower.

The S&P has dropped for four of the past five sessions and it closed below its 50-day moving average for the first time since Aug 15. That level had previously served as support, and a protracted period underneath it could signal further losses ahead.

The losses came on the continued strength of the dollar , which rose 0.2 percent against a basket of major currencies. It is up 6.8 percent for the quarter, its biggest quarterly increase in six years.

With the day's loss, the S&P is about 2.3 percent below a record close hit earlier this month, meaning it remains far from correction territory - defined as a 10 percent drop from a peak. The S&P hasn't had a correction since 2012, with investors using market declines as buying opportunities, a trend that may yet hold here.

"The rising dollar is a concern, as it could be a headwind for large corporate earnings, but the market looks a lot more attractive than it did just a few days ago," said John Schmitz, portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor in Cincinnati. "The selloff could offer an opportunity."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 264.26 points, or 1.5 percent, to 16,945.80, the S&P 500 lost 32.31 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,965.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 88.47 points, or 1.94 percent, to 4,466.75.   Continuación...