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Overnight Markets: Wall Street drops on China worries

China's stocks were suspended from all trade on Thursday after the Shanghai Composite tumbled more than 7% in early trade.

 
Overnight Markets: Wall Street drops on China worries

Wall Street closed at its lowest level since early October on Wednesday, weighed down by a steep fall in oil prices and fresh concerns over China and slower global growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 252 points, or 1.5%, to 16907, its lowest close since 6 October. The S&P 500 lost 26 points, or 1.3%, to 1990. The Nasdaq Composite fell 56 points, or 1.1%, to 4836.

Shares of oil majors Exxon (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) fell after US crude oil slumped 5.6% to $33.97 a barrel, settling at its lowest level since December 2008.

In China, service activity grew at a slower pace in December, a private gauge showed Wednesday, raising fresh concerns. The Caixin China services purchasing managers index fell to 50.2, from 51.2 in November. Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China on Wednesday stepped in again to weaken the yuan, raising fears that the country's economy was even weaker than had been expected.

In the US, minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting showed some officials expressed concern about lingering low inflation and stifling effects on the US economy of a strong dollar and slow growth overseas. Investors now are searching for clues on when the US central bank will make its next move.

Apple (AAPL.O) ended down 2.0% following reports of slowing shipments of the company's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models.

Against the trend, Netflix ended up 9.0% after announcing its video streaming service was now live in more than 130 countries.

Chipotle (CMG.N) fell 5.0% after the company was served with a grand jury subpoena in relation to a criminal investigation into a norovirus contamination at one of its restaurants.

China shares suspended

In Asia, China's stocks were suspended from all trade on Thursday after the Shanghai Composite tumbled more than 7% in early trade, triggering the market's circuit breaker for a second time this week. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was down 2.79%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 1.49%, with the energy sector taking a 4% hit in morning trade. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 traded 1.87% lower, while Korea's Kospi lost 1.09%.

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