Stocks plunge as global growth worries rise

Stocks on Wall Street slumped in the second-biggest loss this year as global growth worries knocked investor confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 250.82 points, or 2%, to 12,573.57, while the S&P 500 index fell 2.2%, to 1325.51.

The Nasdaq Composite shed 2.4%, to 2859.09, snapping a five-session rally.

The Dow edged higher at the open but quickly turned red after Mid-Atlantic manufacturers said business conditions deteriorated sharply this month, according to the US Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Aluminium company Alcoa fell 4.1% as the Dow's biggest decliner. Energy blue chips Exxon Mobil and Chevron each fell more than 3.4% as oil prices dropped below US$80 for the first time this year.

Traders also cited lingering disappointment that the Fed held off on announcing more aggressive stimulus measures on Wednesday.

Instead, it opted to extend Operation Twist, a programme where the central bank sells short-term Treasurys and buys longer-dated bonds to help tamp down long-term borrowing costs.

European markets turned lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5% to 248.40, four-day winning streak.

Most Asian stock markets fell on worries about the Chinese economy after the gauge of China's manufacturing activity showed more weakness.

Crude oil futures fell 4% to settle at $US78.20 a barrel, and gold futures shed 3.1% to $US1564.50 an ounce.

The US dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7878 -0.0004 -0.05%
AUD 0.9091 0.0005 0.06%
EUR 0.6356 -0.0003 -0.05%
GBP 0.5032 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 6.1123 -0.0013 -0.02%
JPY 92.8410 0.0020 0.00%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1201.1 7.660 2014-11-21T00:
Oil Brent 78.6 -0.120 2014-11-21T00:
Oil Nymex 76.5 0.690 2014-11-21T00:
Silver Index 16.4 0.260 2014-11-21T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5526.9 5526.9 5526.9 -0.56%
NASDAQ 4751.0 4751.6 4701.9 0.24%
DAX 9521.2 9736.1 9484.0 2.62%
DJI 17721.0 17894.8 17719.0 0.51%
FTSE 6678.9 6773.1 6678.9 1.08%
HKSE 23353.7 23508.0 23349.6 0.37%
NI225 17285.7 17381.6 17300.9 0.33%