A warning about China’s growth sparked selling in energy and industrial shares yesterday, but the broad market’s losses were contained, a sign of resilience for US stocks.

The S&P energy index fell 1.4 per cent and ranked as the worst performer among the S&P 500 sectors. Global mining giant BHP Billiton said it saw signs of “flattening” iron-ore demand from China, the world’s top metals consumer, hitting the commodities markets and energy stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 68.94 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 13,170.19 at the close. The S&P 500 Index lost 4.23 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 1,405.52. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 4.17 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 3,074.15.

“The news out of China caused everyone to look up and take a breath, but the sentiment hasn't changed. It's still bullish,” said Mike Shea, managing partner and trader at Direct Access Partners in New York.

Before yesterday, the S&P 500 index was at its highest point since May 2008.