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Worst Two-Week Start To Year Ever For U.S. Stocks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Dow was down 2.39 percent upon closing Friday afternoon, ending the worst two-week start to a year in history for U.S. stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 390 points, or 2.4 percent, to close at 15,988. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 44 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,876. The Nasdaq fell 126 points, or 2.7 percent, to 4,488.

The Dow and the S&P 500 are both down 8.2 percent since the beginning of the year. The Nasdaq is down 10.4 percent.

China, oil prices and a long weekend had been blamed for the plunge.

The selloff started in China, hit Europe and is now making waves in the U.S.

China's stocks are now in a bear market, down 20 percent from their recent high, and the price of oil sank below $30 a barrel -- the lowest since 2003.

The slump in crude, which was selling at over $100 a barrel in the summer of 2014, has cut the profits of energy companies.

The U.S. stock market is closed Monday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which won't help matters either because investors don't want to hold a position in this volatile market over the holiday weekend, CBS2's Mary Calvi reported.

"Historically, there's a pattern of selling occurring before a three-day weekend, especially in an environment like this when markets have been going down quite a bit over the past two weeks," said financial analyst Matt Oxman. "People want to feel safe over the weekend."

Oxman told CBS2's Jessica Schneider he's seen the market like this before. Back in 1998, the market was way down just before it set off on a positive, multi-year run.

Oxman said investors should refrain from panicking.

"I'd say the best thing to do right now is to be patient and ride it out," he said. "The fundamentals of the economy are generally OK. We're still adding between 200 and 300,000 jobs a month, which is a huge positive."

Oxman said once the market settles down, it could continue on an upward trajectory.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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