U.S. stocks plunged Monday with major boards down at least 2 percent on Wall Street as some investors went for profits and economic data looked weak.
Autodata said vehicle sales plunged in January after a mostly positive 2013, part of the drop attributed to freezing weather that kept shoppers at home in the month. Markit Economics pegged U.S. manufacturing in January at a three-month low after China's purchasing managers' index for January slipped to 50.5, the lowest level in six months, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Investors also sold for profits. Stocks in 2013 set closing highs time and time again, ending the last year of trading with record closes on both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 indexes.
"People are taking profits off the table, waiting to reinvest," Tom Carter, managing director at JonesTrading told the Wall Street Journal.
"It's safe to say people are taking advantage of these levels and take some profits and put them in the bank, either to redeploy or wait," he said.
The Dow dropped 326.05 points, or 2.08 percent, to close at 15,372.80. The S&P 500 eased back 2.28 percent, losing 40.70 points to 1,741.89. The Nasdaq composite index shed 2.61 percent, 106.92 points, closing at 3,996.96.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 478 stocks advanced and 2,674 declined on a volume of 4.7 billion shares traded.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 295.40 points, 1.98 percent, to 14,619.13.
London's FTSE 100 dipped 0.69 percent, losing 44.78 points, closing at 6,465.66.
The 10-year U.S. treasury was yielding 2.58 percent, up 19/32.
The euro traded at $1.3524 against the dollar. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at 101.02 yen.
Gold added $17.50 to close at $1,257.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver gained 20.5 cents to reach $19.325 an ounce.
Crude oil lost 85 cents to settle at $96.63 per barrel on the NYMEX.
Corn for March contracts added 1.75 cents to $4.3575 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. March soybeans added 9 cents to $12.9175. Wheat added 7.75 cents to $5.635.
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Original headline: Stocks tumble Monday
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