World equities fall on fresh China fears; oil sinks
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stock markets declined on Tuesday after weak data from China reignited concerns about a slowing global economy and oil prices pulled back from recent sharp gains.
China's February trade performance was worse than economists expected, with exports tumbling the most in over six years, days after leaders sought to reassure investors the outlook for the world's second-largest economy remains solid.
"The data this morning has dampened sentiment more so than anything else at this point in terms of confirming some of the concerns regarding growth in China," said Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.
Weighing on oil prices, Goldman Sachs suggested the recent rally was unsustainable and analysts predicted U.S. stockpiles reached record highs again last week.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled at $39.65 a barrel, down $1.19, or 2.9 percent, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 dropped $1.40, or 3.7 percent, to settle at $36.50.
The declines came a day after Brent and U.S. crude settled at their highest levels since December.
In the U.S. stock market, energy shares led the way lower. The S&P energy index .SPNY dropped 4.1 percent, while shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote) were off 2.2 percent at $82.63.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 109.85 points, or 0.64 percent, to 16,964.1, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 22.5 points, or 1.12 percent, to 1,979.26 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 59.43 points, or 1.26 percent, to 4,648.83. Continued...