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Stocks tumble again on bank earnings, global growth fear

Markets Open After Rocky Week To New Earnings Reports And Falling Oil PricesMarkets Open After Rocky Week To New Earnings Reports And Falling Oil Prices
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Photograph by Spencer Platt — Getty Images

It’s another dour day on Wall Street.

Stocks fell shortly after Wednesday’s opening bell, adding to recent declines, weighed down by worries over weak economies globally, pressure on commodities and a U.S. retail sales report for December that fell short of expectations.

Meanwhile, the largest bank in the U.S. posted a 6.6% drop in quarterly profit as JPMorgan’s numbers were weighed down by more than $1 billion in legal costs thanks to a series of government probes.

JPMorgan’s (JPM) stock was recently down more than 4%, leading the decline for the Dow Jones industrial average. Nearly every company on the Dow 30 was trading at a loss early Wednesday, with Goldman Sachs (GS) also down almost 2%.

On the whole, the Dow Jones plunged more than 200 points at the start of trading and was recently down over 300 points, or 1.7%. The blue-chip index, which saw a 425-point swing on Tuesday before finishing down by 27 points, is on pace for its fourth-straight day of losses.

Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite fell slightly on Wednesday, declining about 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively.

Global markets also suffered after the World Bank lowered its forecast for economic growth in 2015 and 2016. Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.7% while London’s FTSE 100 fell more than 2%. Those declines came despite positive news out of Europe, where a decision from the European Union paved the way for a bond-buying program from the European Central Bank that is meant to stimulate the region’s economy.

In the commodities space, copper touched its lowest level since July 2009. Oil prices remained volatile, struggling to find a floor. Brent crude fell to a low of $45.59 before rebounding, while U.S. crude was up 1.3 percent at $46.50 after falling as low as $45.01.

Writing on Fortune.com Wednesday, George L. Perry, senior fellow at Brookings Institution, says unless oil prices fall so low that it forces oil fields to shut down and investors to abandon drilling projects, you can expect prolonged chaos in the oil markets.

—Reuters contributed to this report.