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Dow recovers after 500-point fall on Brexit uncertainty, intensified fears on trade

The Dow and S&P 500 settled down after a day of volatility related to Brexit and fears of an economic slowdown.
Image: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 10, 2018.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 10, 2018.Justin Lane / EPA

Wall Street settled quietly after another rough morning on Monday that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average cross into correction territory and lose more than 500 points before paring losses as the tech sector trended upward.

Earlier in the day, the S&P 500 index had fallen 1.5 percent as banks digested British Prime Minister Theresa May's shock announcement that she would postpone a crucial vote on her deal for Britain to trade separately from the European Union. While U.S. banks have priced in a certain amount of volatility around the subject, U.K.-based banks are still assessing the hit to their basic operations if Britain were to split from its biggest trading partner.

The British pound took a hammering, plunging to its lowest level since April 2017 to trade at 1.26 to the U.S. dollar, down 1.5 percent to the euro.

Apple, which had lost all its gains for the year, was able to overturn its losses for the day to edge out of the red. Investor confidence in the iPhone maker had retreated after a Chinese court granted an injunction to parts maker Qualcomm that could essentially prevent Apple from selling iPhones in China. The tech giant saw 2 percent lopped off its share price before the day was even halfway through, only to regain value after the Cupertino-based company filed an appeal to overturn the Chinese ban.

Monday's whiplash came on the heels of a wild week that saw the Dow lose over 1,500 points over three trading sessions and put the blue-chip index on pace for its worst year since 2015. The deteriorating trade relationship between the U.S. and China has yet to allay any fears on Wall Street that a global slowdown is on the horizon.

While President Donald Trump announced last week that he and his counterpart, China's Xi Jinping, had agreed on terms for renegotiating the trade impasse between the world's two largest economic powers, tensions between the two countries were reignited when it emerged that Meng Wanzhou, a senior Chinese tech executive at Huawei, had been arrested the very same night the Sino-U.S. pact was made.