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Dow Halves Losses As Energy Stocks Attempt Rally

U.S. stocks recovered some of their sharp losses on Monday amid a late rally in the energy sector attempted a late rally.

"I just think it's bargain hunting from oversold conditions," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 400 points in afternoon trading before holding about 180 points lower, with Goldman Sachs and Home Depot weighing the most on the index. Goldman had fallen about 4.5 percent in afternoon trading.

The S&P 500 dropped 1.27 percent, as materials and financials led nine sectors lower, while energy tired for gains.

"We're in a very broad-based sell-off. Investors are selling first and asking questions later," said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital.

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The Nasdaq composite shed over 3 percent at session lows before holding about 1.5 percent lower ahead of the close.

"I think it's worries that the global economy is slowing down more than expected and that's translating into lower oil prices," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.

Crude prices resumed their downward trajectory, with WTI closing 3.88 percent lower, or $1.20, at $29.69 a barrel, but rose above $30 a barrel in after-hours. Last week, U.S. oil fell about 6 percent.

"Like it or not, we use oil as a barometer for the global economy," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

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Gold futures for April delivery surged 3.47 percent to close at $1,197.90 an ounce, and broke above $1,200 for the first time since June. The precious metal also recorded its best trading day since December 2014.

"The gold trade is signaling a retreat in global inflation," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. "In times of economic stress ... gold acts as a store of value."