landsberg bennettStocks finished sharply lower Thursday. The Dow fell 327 points to 25379 while the S&P 500 slipped 40 points to 2768. The Nasdaq Composite was off 157 points to 7485.

The major averages declined as investors digested a confluence of geopolitical concerns. Markets opened lower following another sell-off in Chinese shares overnight, which left the Shanghai Composite off 30% from its January high. Meanwhile, the standoff between the populist Italian government and the E.U. intensified Thursday, sending European shares tumbling. Rounding out the international uncertainty was news that the U.S. backed out of an upcoming investment summit in Saudi Arabia amid the growing controversy around the disappearance of a Saudi dissident.

Nine of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished lower with only Utilities and Real Estate shares advancing. Technology and Consumer Discretionary stocks led the losses as Apple slipped 2.3% to $216.02 and Amazon fell 3.3% to $1770.72. Industrials also underperformed as United Rentals plunged 15% to $118.13 and Textron declined 11.3% to $57.48 after both companies released disappointing third-quarter earnings. In positive earnings news, Philip Morris added 3.7% to $87.70 after topping profit expectations and raising forward guidance.

Breadth was negative on issues by 6:1 on the NYSE and by 7:2 on Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3.5 billion shares.

Treasuries were mixed following the perceived hawkish takeaway from the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting. The 10-year note rose one basis points to 3.18%. In commodities, WTI crude lost 1.5% to $68.72/barrel.