The S&P 500 hit a more than six-month low yesterday, closing in negative territory for the year, on concern a deceleration in the Chinese economy would translate into slower global growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 358.04 points, or 2.06 per cent, to 16,990.69, the S&P 500 lost 43.88 points, or 2.11 per cent, to 2,035.73 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 141.56 points, or 2.82 per cent, to 4,877.49.
Lingering concern over the Chinese economy was underscored by a near eight per cent slide in a major stock index so far this week and after the commerce ministry said exports could continue falling in coming months.
“The largest issue is certainly the fact that we don’t know how much the Chinese economy is slowing,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York. “That’s manifesting itself in lower oil prices”, pointing to the correlation between stocks and crude futures.
Disney slumped six per cent to $100.02 and Time Warner fell five per cent to $73.90, leading a rout in media stocks after a Bernstein downgrade that cited a massive structural upheaval in the industry.
Apple fell 2.1 per cent to $112.65 after a Gartner report said China smartphone sales fell for the first time ever on a quarterly basis in the second quarter. Apple counts China as a key growth market.
One bright spot in tech stocks was NetApp, up 3.4 per cent to $30.78 after the data storage equipment maker’s results beat expectations.