Wall St. Stocks Drop, Riding Roller Coaster Back Down After Best Day Since ’09

Wall Street’s roller-coaster ride continued on Thursday, with stocks tumbling as euphoria over a surge in prices a day earlier began to fade.

Investors have struggled to get their bearings this month as the S&P 500 hurtled toward bear-market territory. They are trying to assess the prospects for economic growth and corporate profits as interest rates rise and a trade war with China continues, while also factoring in internal White House turmoil and President Trump’s antipathy toward Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman.

[Read more about investors’ biggest concerns, and about how technology stocks fell into a bear market last week.]

Concerns about the White House’s response to what has been a rough December for Wall Street grew last week as Mr. Trump used Twitter to vent his frustration over the Fed’s decision to keep raising interest rates and sought guidance from aides about whether he could fire Mr. Powell.

The partial shutdown of the federal government could also begin to wear on investors as they are forced to operate without official data that could help answer lingering questions about the health of the American economy. On Thursday, for instance, a Census Bureau report on new home sales was delayed because of the shutdown.

Investors got some data to digest on Thursday, and it was not encouraging. A report on consumer confidence by the Conference Board, a business group, showed Americans growing more pessimistic about economic conditions. In China, officials said industrial profits had declined in November for the first time in three years, a reminder that the growth

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