March Madness: The Dow is threatening to log its ugliest loss in March in nearly 40 years

It has been a brutal stretch for U.S. equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broad-market S&P 500 are looking at an unusually unsightly March, amid a rise in volatility and heightened concerns about trade wars.

Read: S&P 500 turns negative for 2018 as stocks tumble on trade fears

The blue-chip average is on the verge of putting in its worst March since 1980, when it declined 8.97%, according to WSJ Market Data Group. The Dow DJIA, -1.77% is presently down 5.98% or 1,496 points.

The S&P 500 index SPX, -2.10% is on track for its worst March in 17 years, since a 6.4% March decline in 2001.

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