Weak factories data weigh on shares; oil slips

By Michael Connor NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stock prices slid on Wednesday, dragged down by economic reports portraying U.S. factory growth as tepid and China in its worst manufacturing contraction since the global financial crisis. The data aggravated investor anxieties that global economic growth might be sputtering, sapped a rally in European equities and gave Asian stock markets their worst day in months. Prices of U.S. Treasuries eased, while oil prices declined as much as 4 percent after giving up early gains. The economic reports, showing U.S. manufacturing growth stayed at a two-year low in September and Chinese factory activity shrinking to a 6-1/2 year low, spurred a selloff in U.S material and industrial stocks. The S&P materials index was down 2.1 percent. The industrial sector fell 0.7 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.58 points, or 0.31 percent, to 16,279.89, the S&P 500 lost 3.98 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,938.76 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.98 points, or 0.08 percent, to 4,752.74. Europe's FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 European shares had rallied on regional manufacturing reports but ended flat with a rise of 0.07 percent. Shares in Volkswagen rose 5.2 percent to 111.50 euros. It had lost about a third of its value in the previous two sessions after the German carmaker got caught up in a scandal that Deutsche Bank called an "investor's nightmare," which led to the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday. The United States has accused Volkswagen of rigging its cars to conceal their emissions when the engines were tested. Asian equity markets tumbled after the Chinese purchasing managers index intensified fears that a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy will spread more widely. Asian stocks posted their biggest single-day fall since Aug. 24, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 2.4 percent. Treasuries prices fell along with German Bunds. The benchmark 10-year Treasury last yielded 2.162 percent, reflecting a decline in price of 10/32. Yields on benchmark German bonds also rose as much as 3 basis points. Positive reaction in Europe to regional PMIs helped the euro rise 0.60 percent to $1.1180. The dollar was up 0.10 percent against the yen at 120.25 yen. Oil prices pivoted from early gains and were down as much as 4 percent. Brent crude oil prices, which had been inching toward $50 per barrel, settled off $1.33, or 2.7 percent, at $47.75 a barrel. Platinum slid on fears about reduced demand from the auto sector, where it is used in diesel catalysts to clean up exhaust emissions. It fell to its lowest since January 2009 at $925.30 an ounce, before recouping some losses. The metal has been hurt by news of Volkswagen's falsification of U.S. vehicle emission tests as investors believed it could affect demand for diesel cars. (Reporting By Michael Connor in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis)

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