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S&P 500, Dow slide as weak China data stokes slowdown worries

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Susan Mathew

(Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes fell on Monday, mirroring global markets, after weak economic data from China rekindled fears of an economic slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

China's central bank slashed key lending rates to revive demand as data showed the economy unexpectedly slowing in July, with factory and retail activity squeezed by Beijing's zero-COVID policy and a property crisis.

U.S.-listed shares of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) Group Holding Ltd and internet firm Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) declined more than 1% each.

Megacap growth and technology stocks were mixed in early trading, while banks fell 1.1% after six straight weeks of gains.

"With the recent rally that we've had from the June lows, it just gives investors a reason to pause today," said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth Management.

Energy stocks led losses among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors as crude prices tumbled on concerns over demand in China, the world's largest crude importer. [O/R]

Oil stocks Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) Co and Marathon Oil Corp (NYSE:MRO) fell between 3.7% and 5.8%.

At 9:38 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 139.55 points, or 0.41%, at 33,621.50, the S&P 500 was down 17.72 points, or 0.41%, at 4,262.43, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 11.91 points, or 0.09%, at 13,035.27.

Wall Street has rallied over the last few weeks, with the benchmark S&P 500 index recovering half of its losses this year as optimism seeped back into markets following data that raised hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve can achieve a soft landing for the economy.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted their fourth straight week of gains on Friday even as Fed officials pushed back on expectations that the central bank will end its rate hikes sooner than anticipated, and economists warned that inflation could return in the coming months.

Meanwhile, analysts and advisers were optimistic that the move to delist five Chinese state-owned enterprises from the New York Stock Exchange could pave the way for Beijing to strike an audit deal with the United States, ending a more than decade-old dispute.

U.S.-listed shares of the five Chinese firms China Life Insurance Co Ltd, Sinopec (NYSE:SHI), Aluminum Corp of China Ltd, PetroChina Co Ltd and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd shed between 2.2% and 5.1%, extending Friday's declines.

Miner Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) Ltd fell 15.3% on rejecting an offer by majority shareholder Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) Ltd to buy the 49% stake it doesn't already own for $2.7 billion.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.16-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.58-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and 29 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and nine new lows.


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