Fueled by the recent dip in tech stocks, the S&P 500 continued to plunge in trading today. Both the S&P and the Dow ended trading down, and in fact they are each now officially down for 2018 year-to-date. The S&P 500 fell by close to 49 points by the close, and the Dow tumbled almost 552 points. The Nasdaq also fell today, losing more than 119 points in a tumultuous day of trading. With both the S&P and the Dow in the red by about 1% each for the year, more and more analysts are suggesting that the long-anticipated bear market may finally be upon us.

Tuesday's losses were not a surprise, however. Indeed, yesterday's sea of red, prompted by a large-scale sell-off of equities, lined things up for a continuation heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. What is perhaps more surprising about the most recent dip, at least on a larger scale, is that it appears to be the tech sector which is fueling the plunge; tech stocks were the best performers last year, per AOL.

  • After falling by roughly 7% on Monday on the news that iPhone production would be slowed, tech giant Apple (AAPL) traded fairly evenly today, although it ended down just under 1% from yesterday's close. At the same time, Goldman Sachs has cut its price target for Apple for the second time this month, according to Business Insider.

  • Target Corp. (TGT) saw an early plunge of more than 10% following a disappointing Q3 earnings report and low same-store sales figures, per CNBC.

Besides the recent decline among tech stocks, retail names have also been down. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT), which tracks top brands like Kohl's, Macy's, and others, fell by 3.4%. With the holiday shopping season kicking into high gear, retail companies need all the momentum they can gather.

Bonds and Oil

Just as stocks have tumbled, so too have oil prices. In fact, today saw the U.S. benchmark finish at its lowest level in more than a year, per MarketWatch. This likely has to do with a large inventory of U.S. petroleum last month, as well as a smaller decline in Iranian oil exports than was previously anticipated. The lower the price of oil moves, the more likely some analysts believe it is that OPEC will trim production at its next meeting in early December.

MarketWatch reports that junk bonds have been slammed by the oil bear market. While stock bulls previously enjoyed the strength of high-yield corporate bonds in spite of stock market volatility, this security blanket appears to be rapidly thinning. The fact that junk bonds are now increasingly fragile is a warning sign for some investors, as highly leveraged companies have a more and more difficult time paying back debts.

Why it Matters:

The FAANG stocks performed exceptionally well in recent months, perhaps giving investors a false sense of optimism about the strength of the market overall. Now, though, FAANG companies have fallen by about 20% off of their highs in June. With these and other names falling, and market volatility remaining as turbulent as ever, there's no telling whether markets will remain stable or continue in freefall. The uncertainty has some calling for a shift to a bear market scenario.

What’s Next:

While bears are happy seeing big gains off of falling stocks, the recent news across the board is generally bad for most investors. Heading into the holiday, companies like Amazon and others will look forward to a boost from lots of shopping taking place on Black Friday. For others, though, many signs point to a redder future.

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