Stocks fell broadly on Monday as ongoing concerns about the speed of a global economic recovery were compounded by data from Japan, which showed that while the world's No.2 economy returned to growth, the recovery may be shaky.
The near-50 percent run-up in U.S. stock prices, fueled by hopes of a quick economic turnaround and better-than-expected corporate earnings, has led to concerns the market is over-extended. Disappointing retail sales and consumer sentiment data last week added to these concerns.
The equity sell-off in the United States looked to be a rerun of selling in Asia and Europe, where key indexes hit fresh lows. Selling on Wall Street was dominated by banks and commodity-related stocks, which are most sensitive to fears of economic weakness.
Below-par results from the second-biggest U.S. home improvement retailer, Lowe's Cos Inc
Although Japan's data showed its economy pulled out of its worst recession for 60 years and growth was in line with forecasts, economists were wary as exports, the biggest contributor to April-June growth, may slow as the effect of stimulus measures wears off.
You had some portion of the marketplace that was looking for selling opportunities after a big rally, and we've gotten a couple of good reasons here globally to execute on that thought, said Craig Peckham, equity trading strategist at Jefferies & Co in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 167.85 points, or 1.80 percent, to 9,148.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 21.11 points, or 2.10 percent, to 982.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 42.93 points, or 2.16 percent, to 1,942.59.
A much better-than-expected survey of U.S. regional manufacturing did little to cheer stock investors, concerned that the rally since early March has been overdone.
The New York Fed's survey of regional manufacturing came in at 12.08 in August, above the 3.00 consensus, and showed a return to growth in the sector for the first time since April 2008.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)