Market Extra: Why the stock market just ushered in its worst start to a quarter in about 2 years

It has been an ugly stretch for U.S. stocks, which was capped by Thursday’s more-than-540-point tumble for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, coming immediately after a 831-point drop in the prior session.

To recap: The Dow DJIA, -2.13% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.06% booked their worst one-day slumps since Feb. 8 on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.25% put in its worst single-session skid since Brexit, when the U.K. voted to exit from the European Union, roiling global markets in 2016.

On Thursday, the carnage continued apace.

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