U.S. equities sank Monday, mirroring falls across Asia and Europe after China cut its growth target. Worries over whether Greece can entice enough private investors to participate in a bond swap deal also dampened investors' sentiment.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao lowered China's 2012 gross domestic product growth target to 7.5 percent from the longstanding 8 percent. The slower growth projection hurt stocks of large U.S. materials companies, which depend on China as their key revenue source. The S&P 500 was dragged lower by basic materials and industrials sectors.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), which makes construction and mining equipment, fell 2.13 percent. Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), the aluminum maker, fell 3.61 percent, while Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was off 3.76 percent.
Further weighing on the markets were worries that Greece might not be able to get the 75 percent private investor participation rate it needs to secure the second part of a €130 billion ($172 billion) bailout. The deadline to sign on is Thursday night.
The U.S. economy didn't do much to boost the market either. Factory orders fell 1 percent in January, the largest decline in 15 months. Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said service sector activity expanded at a faster pace in February.
Here's a look at how the markets played out:
Stocks. Equities retreated across the board. The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 14.83 to 12,962.74. The wider S&P 500 index closed lower at 1,364.29, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index lost 25.71 points. European and Asian markets closed lower.
Commodities. Cotton for May delivery hit the daily limit on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange when it jumped 4.53 percent to 92.23 cents a pound on news that India, the world's second-largest producer of the commodity, banned cotton exports. Gold futures ended Monday lower for a second day, barely holding above $1,700 an ounce. Natural gas and copper slipped, while crude oil ended little changed.
Bonds. Treasury prices enjoyed a brief hike before edging down Monday. Yields on 30-year notes inched up 3 basis points to 3.14 percent.
Currencies. The euro gained on dollar, which was up against the Indian rupee. Emerging market currencies such as the South African rand and Mexican peso also declined.