Weak factories data weigh on shares; oil slips

Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:51pm EDT
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By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stock prices slid on Wednesday, dragged down by economic reports portraying U.S. factory growth as tepid and China in its worst manufacturing contraction since the global financial crisis.

The data aggravated investor anxieties that global economic growth might be sputtering, sapped a rally in European equities and gave Asian stock markets their worst day in months.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries eased, while oil prices declined as much as 4 percent after giving up early gains.

The economic reports, showing U.S. manufacturing growth stayed at a two-year low in September and Chinese factory activity shrinking to a 6-1/2 year low, spurred a selloff in U.S material and industrial stocks.

The S&P materials index was down 2.1 percent. The industrial sector fell 0.7 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.58 points, or 0.31 percent, to 16,279.89, the S&P 500 lost 3.98 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,938.76 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.98 points, or 0.08 percent, to 4,752.74.

Europe's FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 European shares had rallied on regional manufacturing reports but ended flat with a rise of 0.07 percent.

Shares in Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) rose 5.2 percent to 111.50 euros. It had lost about a third of its value in the previous two sessions after the German carmaker got caught up in a scandal that Deutsche Bank called an "investor's nightmare," which led to the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid