NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stock prices fell on Wednesday, dragged down by economic reports portraying U.S. factories 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 and other safe-haven government debt eased.
The 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 .SPLRCM was down 1.7 percent. The industrial sector .SPLRCI was lower by 0.9 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 68.72 points, or 0.42 percent, to 16,261.75 in choppy Wall Street trading, the S&P 500 .SPX declined 3.9 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,938.84 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 1.10 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,757.82.
Europe's FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 European shares .FTEU3 had rallied on regional manufacturing reports but ended flat with a rise of 0.07 percent.
Shares in Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) rose 5.19 percent. 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.
The United States has accused Volkswagen of rigging its cars to conceal their emissions when the engines were tested.
Asian equity markets tumbled after the Chinese purchasing managers index intensified fears a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy will spread more widely.
Asian stocks posted their biggest single-day fall since Aug. 24, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS down 2.4 percent.
The MSCI world index was flat .MIWD00000PUS.
Treasuries prices fell along with German Bunds. The benchmark 10-year Treasury US10YT=RR last yielded 2.1479 percent, reflecting a decline in price of 6/32.
Yields on benchmark German bonds also rose as much as 3 basis points. EU2YT=RR EU10YT=RR
Positive reaction in Europe to regional PMIs helped the euro rise 0.60 percent to $1.1180 EUR=. The dollar was flat against the yen at 120.50 yen JPY=.
Oil prices pivoted from early gains and were down as much as 3 percent. Brent crude oil prices, which had been inching toward $50 per barrel, were last off 2 percent at just over $48. LCOc1
Platinum XPT= slid on fears about reduced demand from the auto sector, where it is used in diesel catalysts to clean up exhaust emissions. It fell to its lowest since January 2009 at $925.30 an ounce, before recouping some losses.
The metal has been hurt by news of Volkswagen's falsification of U.S. vehicle emission tests as investors believed it could affect demand for diesel cars.
Reporting By Michael Connor in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski