Zee Media Bureau
New York: US stocks logged their biggest daily percentage drop since November 7 on Monday when the market sold off following the US presidential election.
The stocks fell in line with big declines in the price of gold, oil and other commodities fed a broad selloff in equities.
Weaker-than-expected data from China sparked the initial decline, but selling accelerated late in the session as reports of two explosions in Boston near the finish line of the Boston Marathon unnerved investors.
Commodity-related shares led stocks' losses, with gold suffering its worst two-day sell-off in 30 years as the China data fueled worries about the strength of the global economy. The SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD.P) lost 8.8 percent to USD 131.31 on record volume.
Total trading volume was the second highest of the year, with about 8.5 billion shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges.
Analysts said the stock market had been vulnerable to a pullback, given the sharp gains since the start of the year as well as the Dow's and the S&P 500's recent record highs. The S&P 500 is still up 8.8 percent for the year.
"I don't think the market has much tolerance for bad news," said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.
"There was a bad Chinese GDP number, which I think spooked people to start, and technical factors. Profit-taking started taking over. Late in the day, we were getting hit by reports that there were explosions in Boston. That gets people nervous."
At least two were killed and dozens were injured from the blasts.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI sank 265.86 points, or 1.79 percent, to close at 14,599.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX fell 36.49 points, or 2.30 percent, to 1,552.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC lost 78.46 points, or 2.38 percent, to end at 3,216.49.
The biggest declining sectors were energy and materials. The S&P energy sector index .SPNY lost 3.9 percent. The S&P materials sector index .SPLRCM also fell 3.9 percent.
Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) fell 2.8 percent to USD 86.49 and led the S&P 500's decline, while shares of miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc (FCX.N) tumbled 8.3 percent to USD 29.27.
Data showed China's annual rate of growth eased back to 7.7 percent from the 7.9 percent rate of the previous quarter and below economists' forecast for an 8.0 percent expansion.
With Agency Inputs