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Overnight Markets: US stocks slide on Malaysian airliner crash news

Overnight Markets: US stocks slide on Malaysian airliner crash news

Wall Street plunged on Thursday, with the S&P 500 posting its biggest one-day percentage drop since 10 April, on news that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed near the Ukraine-Russia border.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 161 points or 0.94%, to end at 16,977. The S&P 500 lost 23 points or 1.18%, to 1,958. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 63 points or 1.41%, to 4,363.

Investors sold stocks in a move to avoid risk as the crash stoked concerns that the conflict in Ukraine might widen after US sanctions against Russia were announced late Wednesday.

The US said the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was "blown out of the sky", probably by a ground-launched missile. The jet had 295 people aboard. The crash followed an increase in tensions between Ukraine and Russia that has resulted in clashes along the border, including the targeting of military aircraft.

Further pressuring the market, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said.

Shares of Google Inc rose 1.6% after the bell following news that Nikesh Arora, the Internet search company's chief business officer, is leaving, the latest high-ranking executive to depart. Arora's surprise departure was announced as Google reported results that beat investors' expectations.

Shares of International Business Machines Corp fell 1.3% in extended-hours trading after the company reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue and earnings per share.

During the regular session, shares of most major US carriers slid, with American Airlines Group Inc down 4.1% and United Continental Holdings Inc down 3.5%.

Morgan Stanley's stock slipped 0.6%, while shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc rose 1.6% after solid earnings reports.

In Asia, shares declined on Friday for the first time in five days after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine and Israel sent troops into Gaza, spurring demand for safe-haven assets.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.6% to 146 as of 9:47 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index lost 1.2% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index both slipped 0.5%.

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