Dow falls over 250 points on growth fears
NEW YORK — US stocks slid sharply Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking two percent, as disappointing economic data from China and Europe followed the Federal Reserve’s slashing its growth forecast for the United States.
Tech stocks fell broadly, with Microsoft’s 2.6 percent loss helping pull the Nasdaq 2.4 percent lower. Growth-related plays like mining stocks and oil took the biggest falls, with Alcoa sinking 4.3 percent, Occidental Petroleum 6.1 percent and Chevron 3.5 percent.
At the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 250.82 points, or 1.96 percent, at 12,573.57.
The S&P 500-stock index fell 30.18 (2.23 percent) to 1,325.51, while the tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 71.36 (2.44 percent) to 2,859.09.
The fall came in the wake of disappointing purchasing manager index reports from China and Europe, both signaling a downturn in industrial activity.
Meanwhile on Wednesday the Federal Reserve slashed its growth forecast for the US economy, and disappointed investors by announcing a renewal of the relatively low-impact “Twist” stimulus and not opting for a new and bigger quantitative easing program.
“Weak economic data and the reluctance by the Fed to do anything meaningfully proactive is causing investors to try to take some of the profits seen since the June 1st low,” said Sam Stovall a strategist at Standard & Poor’s.
Big oil fell with the 3.7 percent-plus fall in crude oil prices in New York and London.
The US West Texas Intermediate benchmark sank $3.25 from Wednesday’s price to $78.20 a barrel, the lowest level since the beginning of October; London’s Brent contract fell $3.46 to $89.23 a barrel, its first trip below the $90 line since December 2010.
Shares of ExxonMobil lost 3.4 percent, Marathon Oil 5.6 percent, Suncor Energy 7.4 percent, and US traded shares of BP 5.2 percent.
On the Nasdaq, Onyx Pharmaceuticals was a breakout gainer, adding 43.1 percent, after a panel of the US Food and Drug Administration approved its myeloma drug Kyprolis for certain treatments. The FDA still needs to give the drug a final approval.
US bond prices picked up. The yield on 10-year treasuries fell 0.02 percentage points to 1.62 percent, and those on 30 year paper fell 0.04 to 2.69 percent.
Bond yields go down as prices go up.