Boston blasts, China data rock US stocks

April 16, 2013 | 10:39
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Deadly explosions in Boston and disappointing China economic growth rocked US stocks Monday, sending the broad-market S&P 500 down more than 2.0 per cent.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. (AFP/Spencer Platt)

Deadly explosions in Boston and disappointing China economic growth rocked US stocks Monday, sending the broad-market S&P 500 down more than 2.0 per cent.

Amid sharp sell-offs in commodities like oil and gold, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 265.86 points (1.79 per cent) to 14,599.20.

The S&P 500 index dropped 36.49 points (2.30 per cent) to 1,552.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 78.46 points  (2.38 per cent) at 3,216.49.

At least two people were killed and 22 wounded when two explosions struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon about an hour before the markets closed.

"Sellers reacted to the news by pushing equities to fresh lows," analysts said.

The S&P 500 shed about 14 points of its 36.50-point dive, or 38 per cent of the day's loss, following the blasts.

Earlier, Wall Street was already under pressure from the opening bell after China reported gross domestic product growth slowed to 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year from 7.9 per cent in the prior quarter.

That was well below analyst expectations of around 8.0 per cent, and renewed concerns about a slowdown in the global economic engine.

US data showing a larger-than-expected slowdown in New York state manufacturing in April and a drop in confidence of homebuilders added to growth concerns.

"The early indications are that April economic data remain soggy relative to a disappointing March," said Deutsche Bank analysts in a research note.

Citigroup's quarterly earnings gains and two big M&A announcements -- DISH Network's $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel and Thermo Fisher's $13.6 billion takeover of genetic sequencing powerhouse Life Technologies -- failed to sway sellers.

Citigroup edged up 0.2 per cent after its first-quarter earnings bested analyst forecasts.

Satellite-television provider DISH Network dropped 2.3 per cent after proposing a $25.5 billion merger with wireless carrier Sprint, up 13.5 per cent.

US laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific fell 1.3 per cent after announcing its $13.6 billion bid to acquire biotech firm Life Technologies. Life Tech gained 7.5 per cent.

Gold equities were in retreat after gold prices continued to plummet.

Goldcorp and Newmont Mining both sank 6.7 per cent, and Barrick Gold dived 12.6 per cent.

Another $2-plus fall in oil prices sent energy share sinking. ConocoPhillips lost 3.6 per cent, Chevron gave back 2.8 per cent and ExxonMobil slid 2.8 per cent.

Bond prices gained. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.70 per cent from 1.72 per cent late Friday, while the 30-year yield dropped to 2.88 per cent from 2.92 per cent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.


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