Dow stumbles to worst opening day since '08; Nasdaq, S&P also slide on China concerns

The loss represented the Dow's worst open since Jan. 2, 2008, when it fell 1.6 percent.
By Andrew V. Pestano and Doug G. Ware  |  Updated Jan. 4, 2016 at 5:17 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Growing concerns over the Chinese economy propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its worst opening day in nearly a decade -- as the index fell more than 275 points by the end of trading Monday.

The index fell 276 points to finish Monday at 17,148.94 -- a decline of 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq fell 104 points (2 pct) to settle at 4,903.09 and the S&P 500 slid 31 points (1.5 pct) to close at 2,012.66.

The Dow's loss represented the worst opening day since Jan. 2, 2008, when the index lost 1.6 percent.

At one point during trading Monday the Dow was down 450 points and fell below the 17,000-point mark, and was briefly on pace to become the worst open since 1932.

"It seems like fear woke up early in 2016 and hope is basically sleeping in," David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, told CNN Money.

Analysts say the main reason for the losses is growing concern over ongoing economic concerns in China. The sell-off started in Asia Monday, sparked by feeble manufacturing data and a devaluation of the Chinese yuan -- turmoil that spread to Europe and the United States, The New York Times reported.

Kelly said Monday's crash in China was created by fears about the "circuit-breaker" introduction, likening the move to a bank saying only the first 10,000 customers will be served.

"Everybody wants their money before it shuts," he said.

Global manufacturing underperformed when compared to previous estimates, with the U.S. December ISM Manufacturing Index falling to 48.2, below expectations and down from November's 48.6, CNBC reported.

"This will be the theme for the year," Asia equity strategist Devendra Joshi said. "There will be more volatility."

China on Monday halted trading by virtue of its "circuit-breaker" system after a 7 percent drop in the CSI 300, a benchmark of the largest 300 stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

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