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Stocks on Wall Street posted their third straight triple-digit point decline after a series of poor corporate-earnings reports and weak manufacturing data.
In today’s results, AT&T, UPS, DuPont and Texas Instruments all had earnings that exceeded expectations but revenues fell short, indicating a sluggish economy.
The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank showed a sharp contraction in Central-Atlantic manufacturing
The Dow Jones Industrial Average stumbled 1o4.14 points, or 0.9%, to 12,617.32 at the close (8am NZ time).
The S&P 500 index fell 0.9% to 1338.31 and the Nasdaq Composite also dropped 0.9% to 2862.99.
Other markets: Europe down, Asia steady
European stocks ended a volatile trading session in the red after Moody's cut its outlook on Germany, while investors continued to sell Spanish stocks and bonds.
The yield on 10-year Spanish government bonds added a further 12 basis points to 7.57%, a new euro-era high, Its sharemarket benchmark, the IBEX 35, slumped 3.6% to 5956.30, the lowest level since the beginning of April.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.5% to close at 250.57, marking a third day of losses.
The German DAX 30 index lost 0.5% to 6390.41, the French CAC 40 index fell 0.9% to 3074.68 and London's FTSE 100 index lost 0.6% to 5499.23.
Asian stocks ended little changed as a pickup in Chinese manufacturing helped offset continued concerns over Europe.
The preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came out at 49.5 in July, compared with a final reading of 48.2 in June, but was significantly higher than in the previous month.
The Australian S&P ASX 200, which is sensitive to Chinese economic data, pared its early losses to finish up 0.1% at 4133.20.
Korea's Kospi finished 0.3% higher at 1793.93 and the Shanghai Composite was up 0.2% at 2146.59.
Japan's Nikkei Average dropped 0.2% at 8488.09 to finish at a six-week low, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.8% to 18,903.20 in an abbreviated session after a typhoon forced cancellation of the morning trades.
Commodities: Oil up, gold steady
Light, sweet crude oil for September delivery settled 36USc higher, at $US88.50 a barrel in New York.
September North Sea Brent crude oil settled up 16USc at $US103.42 a barrel. The contract fell $US3.57 a barrel on Monday, its biggest decline since December 14.
Gold futures were flat at $US1577 an ounce.
Currencies: Euro at two-year low
The euro fell to a fresh two-year low against the US dollar after business activity data flagged the growing risk of recession in the eurozone.
The euro was at $US1.2061 down from $US1.2117 late on Monday.
The dollar was at ¥78.16 compared with ¥78.39, while the euro traded at ¥94.284, down from ¥94.98.
The pound bought $US1.5512, barely up from $US1.5507, while the dollar fetched 0.9955 Swiss franc, up from 0.9911 franc.