Global worries slam Wall Street
Dow tumbles 100, Nasdaq skids as investors eye selloff in China, thwarted attack on Cheney; bonds rally.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks plunged early Tuesday as investors eyed reports of slumping stocks in China and Europe and news that Vice President Dick Cheney was the target in a Taliban suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan.
A surprisingly weak read on durable goods orders added to the morning concerns.
The Dow Jones industrial average (down 122.41 to 12,509.85, Charts) sank close to 1 percent around 45 minutes into the session, while the broader S&P 500 (down 14.54 to 1,434.83, Charts) index lost 1.1 percent. Both blue-chip averages have fallen for the last four sessions.
The Nasdaq (down 35.12 to 2,469.40, Charts) composite slumped 1.5 percent, after having slid for the last two sessions.
Chinese stocks slumped 9 percent Tuesday - the worst one-day selloff in a decade - on concerns that the government would interfere to cool the speculation that drove the Shanghai market up 130 percent last year. (Full story).
Other Asian markets slumped in tandem. European shares also tumbled at midday.
The slump in world markets exacerbated concerns that U.S. markets are also due for a selloff following a nearly 8-month advance that has sent the Dow industrials to record highs and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 to more than 6-year highs.
A morning report in the United States showing a steeper-than-expected decline in durable goods orders in January added to concerns about slowing economic growth. Slower growth means pressure on profits, which in turn pressures stocks.
Also fueling concerns Tuesday: news of a suicide bombing attack at the entrance to the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan during a visit by Dick Cheney. The attack killed at least 23 people but the vice president was briefly moved to a bomb shelter Tuesday morning and was unharmed. (Full story).
Blue-chip declines were broad based, with 27 out of 30 Dow components falling. Alcoa (down $0.96 to $34.40, Charts), Caterpillar (down $1.44 to $65.82, Charts), General Motors (down $0.82 to $33.15, Charts), IBM (down $1.60 to $95.31, Charts) and Hewlett Packard (down $0.59 to $39.70, Charts) were the biggest losers.
Treasury prices rallied as investors sought safety, lowering the yield on the benchmark 10-year note to 4.59 percent from 4.62 percent late Monday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and the yen following the durable goods orders report.
U.S. light crude oil for April delivery fell 74 cents to $60.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.