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U.S stocks drop on data, Boston explosions fuel selloff; Dow slips 1.79%

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Shutterstock photo - Weaker-than-expected growth and output data of China and in the U.S. sparked a massive selloff in global commodities markets that took U.S. equities down with them in a global risk-off trading session on Monday.

An explosion at the Boston Marathon spooked investors as well and added to the selloff.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 1.79%, the S&P 500 index plunged 2.30%, while the Nasdaq Composite index plummeted 2.38%.

Official data out of Beijing revealed that China's gross domestic product expanded by 7.7% year-on-year in the three months to March, down from 7.9% in the fourth quarter and well below expectations for 8.0% growth.

Chinese industrial production, meanwhile, also failed to meet market expectations, which further fueled the risk-off trading session.

The Asian giant's industrial production grew 8.9% on-year in March, below market calls for 10.0% growth and also below a 9.9% reading in February.

Chinese retail sales, on the other hand, grew 12.6%, beating market consensus for a 12.5% reading as well as February's 12.3% rate, though the numbers did little to calm nerves.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Federal Reserve's Empire State manufacturing index, a key gauge of economic health in New York State, fell to 3.1 in April from 9.2 the previous month, falling far short of market expectations for a decline to 7.0.

The news sparked a global risk-off trading session that punished risk-on assets likes stocks and commodities especially hard.

Monday's ultra-bearish data came a day in wake of disappointing indicators in the U.S.

In the U.S. on Friday, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment index dropped to a 9-month low in April, falling to 72.3 from 78.6 in the previous month.

Analysts were expecting the index to tick down to 78.5 this month.

Also on Thursday, official data revealed that retail sales in the U.S. fell 0.4% in March, defying expectations for a 0.1% rise after a 1% increase the previous month.

Core retail sales, which are stripped of volatile automobile sales, also dipped 0.4% last month after a 1% increase in February, missing similar expectations for a 0.1% rise.

Meanwhile, two explosions that took place along the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed 2 and injured 23 at the time of writing spooked investors as well, which further fueled the selloff.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Wal-Mart Stores, down 0.10%, Verizon Communications, down 0.39%, and Procter & Gamble, down 0.55%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Caterpillar, down 3.26%, Exxon Mobil, down 2.81%, and Walt Disney, down 2.76%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished lower.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.33%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.50%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished down 0.41%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 0.64%.

The U.S. on Tuesday is to publish official data on building permits, a key indicator of future construction activity and on housing starts.

The U.S. is also to release data on its consumer price index, industrial production and the capacity utilization rate. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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