Major benchmarks on Wall Street slipped into the red again for this year as investors reacted to the flagging US recovery and slowing growth in China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 265.42 points, or 2.5%, to 10,378.83, led by the energy, industrial and material sectors. All 30 Dow components were in the red, with companies with Alcoa, Boeing and General Electric weighing most heavily.
Alcoa shed 6.1%, Boeing dropped 4.4% and General Electric fell 3.8%. It was the Dow's fourth drop in five sessions and its first 200-point drop since July 16.
The Nasdaq Composite fell even more sharply as technology stocks stumbled, falling 3.0% to 2208.63. Chip makers led the declines, with Broadcom falling 6.1%, Advanced Micro Devices down 5% and Intel losing 2%.
The S&P 500 index shed 2.8% to fall below 1100 to 1089.47. Only five of the 500 stocks traded positively, with retailer Macy's rising 5.9% after the department-store operator beat expectations on profits and revenues.
Other markets; Europe, Asia down
European stocks tumbled, with weaker-than-expected US and Chinese data and a downbeat outlook from the Federal Reserve raising doubts over the sustainability of the global recovery.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down 2% at 254.68. The FTSE 100 index fell 2.4% to 5245.21, France's CAC-40 index ended down 2.7% at 3628.29 and Germany's DAX finished 2.1% lower at 6154.07.
Most Asian stock markets declined as the yen soared to an eight-month high against the US dollar and hurt shares of Japanese exporters. Technology shares also fell in Korea and Taiwan on worries about global personal-computer sales.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 2.7% to 9292.85, its fourth consecutive loss. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.9% to 4455.47, Korea's Kospi gave up 1.3% to 1758.19, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.8% to 21294.54 and Taiwan's Taiex fell 1% to 7895.03.
The lone gainer among the major Asian national benchmarks was China's Shanghai Composite Index, up 0.5% to 2607.50.
Commodities: Oil down, gold up
Crude futures extended losses as a US government report on oil inventories added to worries about the ability of the global recovery to support demand.
Light, sweet crude for September delivery was $US2.11, or 2.6%, lower at $US78.14 a barrel in New York, after falling as low as $US78.06. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange was $US1.91 lower at $US77.69 a barrel.
Gold futures were higher as investors sought a perceived refuge in the prevailing economic gloom.
The most actively traded gold contract for December delivery was up $US9.80, or 0.8%, at $US1207.80 an ounce in New York.
Currencies: Yen, dollar up
The Japanese yen and the US both benefited from the flight to less riskier investments as world sharemarkets slumped.
The two currencies gained more than 2% against the euro and about 1.25% against the pound.
The euro retreated to a two-week low below $US1.29 in the biggest single-day decline versus the dollar since December 2008. It also fell against the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars,
The euro was at $US1.2884, compared with $US1.3184 late on Tuesday, after touching as low as $US1.2867. The dollar was flat at ¥85.34 from ¥85.36.
The euro weakened to ¥109.95 from ¥112.54. The pound weakened to $US1.5657 from $US1.5851.
Thu, 12 Aug 2010