NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks suffered heavy losses in volatile trading Monday ahead of the highly anticipated monthly release of jobs numbers on Friday.
The S&P 500 was down 2.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.4%, and the Nasdaq fell 2.6%. The Volatility Index, otherwise known as the "fear index,: spiked 17.2% to 27.69.
The number of jobs added to the U.S. economy during September will be released on Friday. Economists expect 200,000 jobs to have been added to nonfarm payrolls over the month, up from 173,000 in August. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain steady at 5.1%.
"The bias is going to be on the weak side until that [jobs] number comes out," Don Townswick, director of equities at asset management firm Conning, told TheStreet. "That's going to be the next thing that drives markets in one direction or another."
Downbeat sentiment over the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates at crises levels continued into the new week.
"The biggest impact on the market is the implied lack of confidence shown by the Fed and that's something that has been affecting the market on a daily basis since they decided not to tighten," added Townswick. "We're seeing some confidence eroding a little bit and that's a bad thing for the market."
Benchmark indexes have been under pressure since the Fed opted to leave rates unchanged during its September meeting citing global market volatility as the main reason. The decision rattled investors who feared that the domestic and global economy was in worse shape than initially thought. The S&P 500 fell more than 1% over the past week.