US stocks plummet following global rout

New York, Aug 22 (IANS) US stocks continued to plunge on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average nosediving more than 500 points, as a broad-based heavy sell-off in global stock markets rattled nervous investors.

The Dow tumbled 530.94 points, or 3.12 percent, to 16,459.75. The S&P 500 shed 64.84 points, or 3.19 percent, to 1,970.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 171.45 points, or 3.52 percent, to 4, 706.04, Xinhua reported.

China stocks continued to slump after the release of weak economic data, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index diving 4.27 percent to close at 3,507.74 points.

The Caixin Flash China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index retreated to 47.1 in August from 47.8 in July, the lowest point since March 2009.

For the week, the Shanghai Composite Index sank more than 11 percent, the sharpest weekly drop since the week ending July 3.

European equities also ended sharply lower, following previous session’s deep decline, with British benchmark FTSE 100 Index shedding 2.83 percent, as traders were spooked by worse-than-expected Chinese economic data and a new election in Greece.

Adding more pessimism into the market, US economic data came out weaker than expected. Financial data firm Markit reported that US manufacturers indicated a renewed loss of momentum during August.

The seasonally-adjusted Markit Flash US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index dipped from 53.8 in July to 52.9 in August, the lowest level since October 2013.

Meanwhile, investors were still pondering over the ongoing uncertainty about the timing of an interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

Market analysts widely see September or even later as the most likely time for a Fed rate increase, which also dampened investor enthusiasm.

In a weekly basis, the three major indices witnessed the worst week in nearly four years, with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq diving 5.8 percent, 5.8 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

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