The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 550 points, or about 2.1%, by 2:50 p.m. Friday after three days of consecutive losses over fears of higher interest rates.
Stocks continued to fall around noon after Republicans released a controversial memo alleging that the FBI and Department of Justice abused their surveillance authority to target his 2016 presidential campaign.
The stock market is on track for its worst week in two years, according to CNBC.
Sparking fears of higher rates was a strong January employment report, which topped expectations. Strength in the labor market caused a selloff in the U.S. government bond market. and that has pushed up the yield on the 10-year Treasury note above 2.85%, its highest level since January 2014, or four years ago.
“The new development (spooking investors) is the spike in bond yields,” says Nick Sargen, senior investment advisor for money management Fort Washington Investment Advisors in Cincinnati.
Higher rates mean higher borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, which can slow economic growth. Stocks and many other assets have been powered by record-low rates during a nearly nine-year bull market.