The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched a dubious distinction on Wednesday, as U.S. equity benchmarks fell firmly lower.
The blue-chip benchmark failed to move 10% above the closing low hit earlier in the year, and has now spent the longest period in correction territory — 131 trading sessions — since the 223 sessions in 1961, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The Dow DJIA, -0.54% stands now about 2.8% short of emerging from correction territory after hitting its 2018 closing low of 23,533.20 on March 23. It needs to close at 25,886.42 or above to achieve that. Some market-technician purists believe that an asset must put in a new high to officially emerge from correction phase. Other technicians say that a 10% gain from an asset’s low is sufficient to exit correction territory, a characterization that MarketWatch adheres to.
The Dow and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.76% fell into correction territory, usually defined as a drop of at least 10% from a recent peak, on Feb. 8.
An escalating fright about a recent plunge in the Turkish lira USDTRY, +0.1587% and worries about its knock-on effect on emerging-market economies have rattled investors’ nerves and helped to spark a selloff on Wall Street. The Dow closed down about 140 points, or 0.5% on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.76% slumped by 0.8% at 2,818, and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.23% shed 1.2% at about 7,774.
The S&P 500 exited its lengthiest run in correction in about 34 years late last month.
MarketWatch’s Ryan Vlastelica has noted that such protracted stock-market corrections are extremely unusual. According to Dow Jones data, the average correction for the Dow has lasted a little over 50 trading sessions since the inception of the 122-year-old equity gauge. The past five corrections, on average, have lasted fewer than 40 trading days. (It’s worth noting that the averages don’t also include drops that pushed the Dow into bear-market territory, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak.)
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.23% has thus far led the way higher, recording some 25 all-time highs in 2018.
Stocks have mostly moved in fits and starts this year, with the Dow, particularly, facing stiff headwinds as worries about trade wars between the U.S. and China and other major developed economies have continued to dog the benchmark, which comprises some of the biggest companies in the world, many of which are notably vulnerable to trade tensions.
—Douglas Kobin contributed to this article.