US stocks drop on disappointing economic data

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks Tuesday finished lower following disappointing economic data, including a big drop in US consumer confidence.

On the final day of the third quarter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,042.90, down 28.21 points (0.17 per cent). The broad-based S&P 500 fell 5.51 (0.28 per cent) to 1,972.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 12.46 (0.28 per cent) to 4,493.39. Despite Tuesday's drops, all three indices finished with quarterly gains.

After rising for four months, the Conference Board index of US consumer confidence fell to 86.0 from 93.4 in August due to mounting concerns about the jobs market. Other reports included a disappointing reading on Chinese manufacturing and a drop in eurozone inflation in September to the lowest level since the financial crisis.