DEFINITION of 'Selloff'

The rapid selling of securities, such as stocks, bonds and commodities. The increase in supply leads to a decline in the value of the security.


A sell-off may occur for many reasons. For example, if a company issues a disappointing earnings report, it can spark a sell-off of that company's stock. Sell-offs also can occur more broadly. For example, when oil prices surge, this often sparks a sell-off in the broad market (say, the S&P 500) due to increased fear about the energy costs companies will face.

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