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Overnight Markets: Wall Street down on China data

Overnight Markets: Wall Street down on China data

US stocks declined on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial tumbling to a one-month low, after disappointing manufacturing data in China and as investors analysed corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 176 points or 1.07%, to 16,197, the S&P 500 lost 16 points or 0.89%, to 1,828 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 24 points or 0.57%, to 4,219.

The market sentiment was dented by a report in China yesterday showing factory output may contract this month, based on a preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics.

In the US figures on Thursday showed applications for unemployment benefits held near a six-week low. US house prices advanced 0.1% in November from October, slowing growth that indicates the real estate recovery may be losing strength, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in another report.

Separate releases indicated purchases of previously owned homes surged in December for the first time in four months.

Financials and materials stocks suffered the most yesterday while telecom services was the only positive sector.

US-traded Chinese stocks fell sharply after a US Securities and Exchange Commission judge ruled that the Chinese units of the world's top accounting firms should be suspended from auditing those companies.

Internet services provider Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) fell 6.2% and SINA Corp (SINA.O) was down 5.9%. The US shares of Petrochina (PTR.N) declined 3.1%.

After the bell, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) gained 3.7% after the company said fiscal second-quarter profit increased 3%. 

Starbucks Corp's (SBUX.O) rose 1% after sales at established stores in its US-dominated Americas region cooled more than analysts expected in its latest quarter.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) gained 0.8% after activist investor Carl Icahn picked up another $500 million of Apple shares.

In other earnings, McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) shares rebounded from earlier losses to close up 0.5% after reporting weaker-than-expected revenue as fewer customers ate at its restaurants.

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