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U.S. stocks end sharply lower Friday, closing out a brutal month of September and posting their worst skid in the first 9-months of a year in two decades as higher rates and recession fears grip investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

tumbled about 495 points Friday, or 1.7%, ending near 28,730 as heavy selling intensified into the closing bell. The S&P 500 index [s:spx] shed 1.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index

finished down 1.5%. Losses for the week and month were far worse. The Dow led the major stock indexes lower with a 2.9% weekly skid, to end September down 8.8%. But the S&P 500 and Nasdaq recorded bigger monthly losses of 9.3% and 10.5%, respectively, according to FactSet data. The Federal Reserve’s unwavering stance in September on raising rates until inflation finds a path down to its 2% target has been blamed for the sharp selloff. The task has been complicated by a roaring labor market and soaring home prices, which keep pressure on shelter costs. Home prices have only begun to show signs of a retreat after gaining 45% nationally during the pandemic, which will keep focus on next week’s jobs update for August. For the year so far, the Dow fell 21%, the S&P 500 skid 24.8% and the Nasdaq shed 32.4%, which marked their worst first 9-month fall in a year since 2002, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

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