Dow plunges over 500 points, S&P 500 losses mount in key earnings period

Story highlights Markets are down as over 900 companies are reporting earnings results

Stock index can still be considered inexpensive after the latest selloff

In light of conflicting data from China, the market is anxiously waiting for further commentary from the authorities

Stocks on both sides of the Atlantic continue to tumble lower with the S&P/TSX composite index down by 448 points as of 12:45 p.m. ET.

Markets continue to digest first-quarter earnings reports, with results from a wide range of companies. The losers are far outweighing the winners, as over 900 companies were scheduled to report quarterly earnings today.

Other markets across the world are doing the same thing, with the Shanghai composite index falling more than 3 percent and the blue-chip DAX index of leading German companies losing almost 2 percent. The Hang Seng index is down about 1.5 percent.

While some investment strategies appear to be succeeding, overall earnings season isn’t going so well.

In the United States, there was some good news to report with multiple large banks reporting better-than-expected results, with Citigroup cutting its full-year earnings guidance to $6.60 per share from $6.75.

The market is the reason for the fall

The United States market saw a rollercoaster day on Wednesday after worse-than-expected results from the Census Bureau spurred a selloff in the morning that continued into the afternoon. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 400 points in intraday trading and the S&P 500 lost 2.5 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent.

After opening down on reports of a slowdown in U.S. economic growth, market volatility peaked in the afternoon as a stronger-than-expected report on consumer confidence triggered a selloff in stocks.

Both leading Chinese stock indexes finished down more than 2 percent today as the U.S.-China trade situation appears to be headed for a showdown.

Although the S&P 500 is now at a six-month low, as of Friday morning, that index is still showing a 1.1 percent gain over the past 12 months. The broader S&P 500 is more than 12 percent higher than a year ago, but many individual S&P 500 stocks, from large-cap tech names to smaller-cap financials and techs, are taking a huge beating right now.

The CNN Market Brief explores how stock markets across the globe are reacting today.

Market watch:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 347.52 points at 23,600.12.

The S&P 500 fell 35.45 points to 2,571.44.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 116.62 points to 6,751.72.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a widely used gauge of fear in the market, shot up more than 50% in intraday trading after the Commerce Department reported annual U.S. gross domestic product growth in the first quarter of 2.2 percent — slightly better than economists had forecast but well below the more than 3% expansion in the prior quarter.

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