- Nevada rescuers frenzied to find 4 kids, 2 adults lost in snow
- ‘TipsforJesus’ strikes in New York, with three massive tips
- John Podesta jumps aboard Obama ship to sell second-term agenda
- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
Worry about Chinese demand drives U.S. stocks lower
Stocks closed lower Tuesday for only the second time in two weeks after two reports suggested an economic slowdown in China, where blistering growth over the past three years has helped sustain the global economic recovery.
U.S. stocks recovered some of their early losses but still closed lower. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 68.94 points to 13,170.19. It had been down as much as 116 points.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed down 4.23 points at 1,405.52. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 4.17 points to 3,074.15.
In China, home prices dropped in 45 cities last month, a result of government policies designed to reduce property speculation. And BHP Billiton, a mining company, predicted that China will not use much more iron ore in 2020 than it does today.
Brian Gendreau, a market strategist at the brokerage Cetera Financial Group, said traders were concerned about slower growth in India and Brazil as well. That could rein in a rally that has driven the S&P up almost 12 percent this year.
"If there were skeptics out there that the market might have gotten a little ahead of itself, this was all the news they needed," Mr. Gendreau said.
Mining companies, which rely on rising demand from the developing world, plunged. Peabody Energy fell 5.4 percent, Cliffs Natural Resources dropped 2.4 percent, and U.S. Steel lost 0.9 percent. Energy stocks were the worst-performing group in the S&P 500.
Caterpillar, the maker of heavy equipment, led the Dow lower and slid 2.6 percent after it said global sales are growing more slowly. Bank of America, by far the most active stock in the Dow, led the average with a 2.9 percent gain.
Besides the report on home prices and the prediction of weaker demand for iron ore, which is used to make steel, China raised the price of gasoline for the second time in two months. That increase could hurt demand for fuel.
China's economy grew at an annual rate of 8.9 percent in the last three months of 2011, but the government, which is worried that the economy will overheat, has set a growth target of 7.5 percent this year.
Commodity prices fell broadly, also because of concerns about Chinese demand. Copper fell almost 2 percent. Platinum and palladium also fell. Gold fell more than $20 an ounce to $1,647 and is down 8 percent this month.
The price of oil dropped $2.48 to $105.61 in New York trading. In addition to the worry about China, oil fell because Saudi Arabia promised to fulfill any shortfalls in global supply because of the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
Yields for U.S. government debt fell slightly after rising for nine consecutive days. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.33 percent, from 2.36 late Monday, but recovered to 2.36 percent later Tuesday.
The dollar rose against the euro. Traders tend to buy what they consider safer currencies, such as the dollar, when they are worried about the global economy. The euro fell to $1.322 from $1.324 late Monday.
The U.S. Commerce Department released a mixed report on the housing market. Builders broke ground on fewer homes in February, though they obtained more permits to build homes later in the year.
Mr. Gendreau said the report's impact on trading was mild because most housing data in recent months have signaled a modest revival for the industry.
European indexes fell. Germany's DAX lost 1.4 percent; France's CAC-40, 1.3 percent; and Britain's FTSE 100, 1.2 percent.
Among the companies making big moves in the U.S. on Tuesday:
• Tiffany & Co., the jeweler, jumped 6.7 percent after it said it expects higher profits and revenue this year.
• Adobe Systems Inc., a maker of graphic design software, fell 3.9 percent after its quarterly profit fell sharply because of higher operating costs.
• Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the movie studio, rose 7.2 percent and hit a one-year high. "The Hunger Games," a science-fiction action movie opening Friday, could be a hit.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama eulogizes Mandela, calls him 'the last great liberator'
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
This column will cover the experiential spectrum of music as well as politics and all the things caught in between.
Listening to the heartbeat of Louisiana, including events, food, family and culture.
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow