Stocks plummeted on stronger economic data which exacerbated fears the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates sooner than expected. Consensus is for a September hike. The increasing possibility of a hike pushed investors into safe-haven assets including the U.S. dollar. The greenback surged to an 8-year high against the Yen and a one-month high against a basket of other international currencies. A stronger dollar was hurting commodity prices, pushing West Texas Intermediate down around 2%. Major oilers Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX), BP (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) were lower as a result. New home sales in the U.S. rose more than expected, increasing 6.8% to an adjusted annual rate of 517,000.
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