By Medha Singh
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks slumped on Friday as weak data from China and Europe stoked fears of a global economic slowdown, while Johnson & Johnson slid after Reuters reported the company knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder.
The report, which J&J
The pharma major also pulled down the S&P healthcare index <.SPXHC> 2.78 percent, making it the biggest decliner among the 11 major sectors.
The technology index <.SPLRCT>, which includes a number of companies with global operations, especially China, dropped 1.74 percent. Apple Inc
Sentiment was weak from the start of trading after China reported weak monthly retail sales growth and industrial output numbers, with disappointing economic data from Euro zone, France and Germany souring the mood.
"The root of this decline is due to the global economic worries plus a plunge in Johnson & Johnson shares," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
"We need a true breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks. Any agreement at this point would alleviate fears of global economies sinking further and that would diminish this high volatility in the market."
The market has struggled this week with choppy trading and has failed to hold on to opening levels in magnitude or direction on concerns ranging from trade talks, interest rates, a flattening U.S. Treasury yield curve to uncertainty over the shape of Brexit.
The consumer staples <.SPLRCS> and energy <.SPNY> sectors fell more than 1.5 percent, while consumer discretionary <.SPRCD> and industrials <.SPLRCI> were down over 1 percent.
At 12:53 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was down 411.99 points, or 1.67 percent, at 24,185.39. The S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 37.10 points, or 1.40 percent, at 2,613.44 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 98.08 points, or 1.39 percent, at 6,972.26.
Costco Wholesale Corp
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc
Cisco Systems Inc
Investors also shrugged off Beijing's announcement that it would suspend additional tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts for three months from Jan. 1.
A strong U.S. retail sales data also had little impact on markets, with the S&P retail sector <.SPXRT> falling 1.29 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.80-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.14-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and 75 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 319 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
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Updated Date: Dec 15, 2018 01:05:27 IST