US stocks fall on weak China data

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks finished lower on Wednesday, with petroleum-linked equities especially weak following a report showing the feeblest Chinese factory activity in more than six years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 50.58 points (0.31 per cent) to 16,279.89.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 3.98 (0.2 per cent) to 1,938.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed an identical 3.98 (0.08 per cent) to 4,752.74.

A preliminary reading of China's purchasing managers index of manufacturing activity for September fell to 47.0 from 47.5 in August, the lowest reading since March 2009.

Petroleum-linked shares tumbled sharply as oil prices dropped, in part due to the weak China data.

Dow member Chevron lost 1.5 per cent, Apache 3.5 per cent and driller Transocean 5.7 per cent.

Dow member Boeing fell 1.7 per cent, despite announcing a record order by a group of Chinese firms for the purchase of 300 aircraft worth US$38 billion (S$54 billion).

The announcement was timed with President Xi Jinping's visit to a Boeing plant near Seattle.

US-listed Chinese firms fell, including Internet giant Alibaba (minus 3.1 per cent), Internet search company Baidu (minus 2.8 per cent) and the electronics online retailer (minus 4.5 per cent).

Facebook rose 1.1 per cent on news that its Instagram photo-sharing platform passed 400 million users.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.15 per cent from 2.14 per cent Tuesday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.95 per cent from 2.94 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.