Wall Street sells off as China growth fears reemerge

About ten minutes into the day’s trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down one per cent at 24,346.92. The S&P 500 had fallen 0.9 per cent to 2,625.98 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq had lost 1.3 per cent at 6,975.45. — Reuters pic
About ten minutes into the day’s trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down one per cent at 24,346.92. The S&P 500 had fallen 0.9 per cent to 2,625.98 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq had lost 1.3 per cent at 6,975.45. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Dec 14 ― Wall Street opened sharply lower today as investors took stock of slower growth in China, eroding gains for the major indices as they end another volatile week.

China reported weaker-than-expected industrial output and retail sales, reviving fears that a slowdown in emerging economies could mean the good times are over for global growth.

The Chinese numbers contrasted with rosier retail and industrial data from the United States, also published Friday. But market participants have worried of late how much longer recent tax cuts and fiscal stimulus will shield the American economy from slower growth abroad and a burgeoning trade war.

About ten minutes into the day’s trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down one per cent at 24,346.92. The S&P 500 had fallen 0.9 per cent to 2,625.98 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq had lost 1.3 per cent at 6,975.45.

The plunge sent the S&P back into correction territory, erasing its gains for the week along with those of the Dow.

Patrick O’Hare of Briefing.com also noted that preliminary industrial survey data today for France, Germany and the eurozone as a whole were also weaker than expected.

Concerns about growth have been nagging at markets all year, O’Hare wrote at Briefing.com. 

“More recently, however, they have been covering the market like a wet blanket, and today, China poured more cold water on that blanket,” he said.

Meanwhile, US retail sales slowed to 0.2 per cent in November, but excluding gasoline and auto sales, underlying consumer spending was more robust, according to the Commerce Department.

Industrial output also shot up due to higher spending on home heating in a cold snap but showed other signs of weakness in the manufacturing sector.

Among individual stocks, discount retailer Costco was down 5.7 per cent on disappointing first-quarter revenue. ― AFP