China growth drop knocks Wall St

The China card has been played on Wall Street with stocks falling back from their highest levels in years.

China's economic growth is slowing and BHP Billiton has warned demand for iron ore will flatten. Earlier this year, China cut its 2012 GDP growth target to 7.5%, an eight-year low.

Stocks on Wall Street opened lower and held those losses throughout the trading day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 68.94 points, or 0.5%, to 13,170.19 at the close (9am NZ time).

The S&P 500 index was down 0.3% to 1405.52 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.1% to 3074.15. Both benchmarks closed at multiyear highs on Monday.

Growth-sensitive energy and materials stocks led the declines, with Caterpillar falling 2.6%, Alcoa 1.6% and United Technologies also down 1.6%. Bank of America, up 2.8%, led the Dow advancers.

Other markets: Europe, Asia down
European markets were in broad decline, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 1.1%. at 268.96. The UK's FTSE 100 index fell 1.2% to 5891.41, Germany's DAX dropped 1.4% to 7054.94 and France's CAC-40 index declined 1.3% to 3530.83.

In Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite shed 1.4% to 2376.84for its first loss in three days, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 4275.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 1.1% to 20,888.24, Korea's Kospi fell 0.2% to 2042.15 and Taiwan's Taiex shed 0.9% to 7972.70. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

In India, the Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index rose 0.3% to end at 17,316.18. It had declined 3.6% in the previous three sessions.

Commodities: Oil, gold down
Oil futures tumbled 2.3% as Saudi Arabian officials suggested the world's largest crude exporter will try to rein in rising prices.

The April delivery contract closed $US2.48 lower at $US105.61 a barrel in New York. The more heavily traded May contract settled $US2.49, or 2.3%, lower at $US106.07 a barrel.

The front-month ICE Brent crude for May delivery lost $US1.59 per barrel, or 1.26% to $US124.12.

Gold prices receded as the US dollar strengthened as traders weighed the impact of slower Chinese economic growth and potential declines in demand from top gold consumer India.

The most actively traded gold contract, for April delivery, fell $US20.30, or 1.2%, to settle at $US1,647 an ounce in New York.

Currencies: US dollar surges
The dollar reigned across currency markets after concerns about a slowdown in Chinese growth triggered caution in markets and put commodity currencies under pressure.

The Australian dollar suffered the heaviest losses, hitting a low for the day at $US1.0482 and marking a hefty slide from over $US1.06 in Asian trading hours.

The euro traded at $US1.3205, compared with $US1.3239 late on Monday in New York. The euro traded at ¥110.57, after hitting a five-and-half-month high at ¥110.82, compared with ¥110.35 on Monday.

The pound was at $US1.5849, compared with $US1.5894.

The dollar was at ¥83.74 from ¥83.35, and at 0.9136 Swiss franc compared with 0.9112.

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7720 -0.0026 -0.34%
AUD 0.9487 -0.0017 -0.18%
EUR 0.6313 -0.0023 -0.36%
GBP 0.4941 -0.0016 -0.32%
HKD 5.9865 -0.0208 -0.35%
JPY 92.1840 -0.4000 -0.43%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1195.4 -2.890 2014-12-19T00:
Oil Brent 61.4 1.580 2014-12-19T00:
Oil Nymex 57.1 2.910 2014-12-19T00:
Silver Index 16.0 0.096 2014-12-19T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5518.5 5545.0 5539.3 -0.21%
NASDAQ 4752.6 4782.1 4748.4 0.36%
DAX 9901.3 9901.3 9811.1 -0.25%
DJI 17778.0 17874.0 17778.2 0.15%
FTSE 6466.0 6566.9 6466.0 1.23%
HKSE 23264.0 23264.0 23116.6 0.64%
NI225 17685.5 17692.6 17621.4 -0.06%