The metal and mining sectors were pummeled Friday on signs of slowing growth in emerging economies.
It is those countries that drove growth as a global recession felled developed economies across the globe. The fear is that as larger economies recover, they will tighten monetary policies and push some of those developing countries into a tailspin.
The downturn began Thursday after a survey indicated a January contraction in the Chinese manufacturing sector, the first time that has happened since July.
The difference now is a pullback underway in the same monetary policies that had left markets flush with cash. The U.S. said it would begin trimming its $85 billion bond-buying program this month.
Currencies in emerging markets, including Turkey, Russia, South Africa and Argentina, are begun to lose value, and there is concern that the downturn could boomerang and spread to countries where the economic recovery is just beginning, including the U.S.
The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped more than 230 points yesterday before closing down 175.99 points. In afternoon trading Friday, the Dow fell 250 points.
The sell-off has been particularly harsh in steel, coal and other sectors that do big business in China, where the Hang Seng index dropped 1.25 percent.
Analysts for Kitco Metals Inc. said Friday that prices are falling already for platinum, copper and silver.
Here's a look at how some companies were faring by early afternoon Friday:
Alpha Natural Resources Inc.: Down 4.7 percent to $5.91
AK Steel Holding Corp.: Down 6.5 percent to $6.26
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.: Down 2.6 percent to $32.81
Barrick Gold Corp.: Down 1.8 percent to $18.97
Alcoa Inc.: Down 4.6 percent to $11.51
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Original headline: Emerging market worries weigh on metal stocks
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