© Richard Drew/AP
U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday to start off 2019 as disappointing economic data from China and Europe and lingering concerns over global trade hampered risk appetite.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 360 points to start off the session, led by a decline in Caterpillar. These losses come after the 30-stock index completed its worst year in a decade on Monday. The S&P 500 pulled back 1.4 percent as tech and industrials lagged. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.6 percent as shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all declined.
The moves Wednesday come after a private sector survey showed manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy contracted for the first time in 19 months. China’s Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for December dipped to 49.7 from 50.2 in November.
Meanwhile, the euro zone manufacturing PMI remained at its lowest level since February 2016, according to IHS Markit. The data also showed confidence about the future hit a fresh six-year low.
“Everybody is terrified that this is a sign of a global slowdown,” Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “It was only eight months ago we were talking about synchronized growth and all of that is falling apart.”
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