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Overnight Markets: Wall Street plunges after China selloff

However, most Asian stock markets inched higher on Tuesday as China's benchmark stabilised a day after tumbling nearly 7%.

Overnight Markets: Wall Street plunges after China selloff

US stocks began 2016 sharply lower on Monday on news that Chinese factory activity shrank sharply in December, fanning fears of a global slowdown.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 276 points, or 1.58%, to 17,149, the S&P 500 lost 31 points, or 1.53%, to 2,013 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 104 points, or 2.08%, to 4,903.

Surveys showed factory activity in China shrank sharply in December, sparking a 7% slide in Chinese shares that triggered a trading halt. Adding to investors' worries, China's central bank fixed the yuan at a 4-1/2 year low, further weakening it against the dollar.

Economic data in the US sparked further concern as factory activity weakened unexpectedly in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

 “A second consecutive reading below 50 from the US ISM Manufacturing PMI explains why the markets do not believe the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates very quickly this year, as monetary policy could already be too tight, thanks to the rising dollar,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Nasdaq led the day's decline and Amazon (AMZN.O), down 5.8%, weighed the most on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, while the Nasdaq Biotech Index dropped 3.2%.

All 10 S&P sectors ended lower, but a turnaround in oil prices caused energy shares to cut losses helping indexes partly recover late in the session.

In company news, Tesla (TSLA.O) fell 6.9% after the electric car maker delivered 17,400 vehicles in the fourth quarter, just above the low end of its guidance.

Elsewhere in commodities, gold prices gained 1.40% to $1,075 a troy ounce, while silver paced 0.30% higher to $13.82 an ounce. Copper dropped 2.59% to $2.07 a pound on the back of China’s disappointing economic data.

In Asia, most stock markets inched higher on Tuesday in late morning trade as China's benchmark stabilised a day after plunging nearly 7%.

The Shanghai Composite Index wavered between gains and losses. It was last down 0.1% at 3,293. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to 18,514 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.9% to 5,224.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.7% to 1,932 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.2% to 21,371.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 119.54 yen from 119.43 yen in the previous trading session. The euro rose slightly to $1.0828 from $1.0826.

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