NEW YORK: Wall Street opened 2019 with decisive losses on Wednesday, continuing the downward spiral from December as weak Chinese manufacturing data underscored worries over slowing global growth.
About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.6 percent, or more than 350 points, at 22,962.49.
The broad-based S&P 500 had fallen 1.4 percent to 2,470.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index had sunk 1.7 percent to 6,525.65.
Wednesday’s early declines were a perpetuation of the market exodus that dominated trading in December and left major US indices with losses for 2018.
A reading of Chinese manufacturing activity came in at 49.4 in December, the first time below the 50 benchmark that separates growth from contraction, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
Analysts attributed the poor Chinese data to the hit from the ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington that has also been a key factor in slashed global growth forecasts for 2019.
Among individual companies, shares of Tesla dived nearly nine percent after the electric car maker delivered fewer vehicles than expected in the fourth quarter.
Markets were closed on Tuesday for the New Year’s holiday.
Data releases later this week include US auto sales for December and the December employment report from the Department of Labor.—AFP