• Weak China Data, Ukraine Affect Markets

    NEW YORK, May 5, 2014 (AFP) – US stocks fell in early trade Monday, dragged down by escalating tensions in Ukraine as the country verges on civil war and disappointing manufacturing data from China.

    After an hour of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 59.81 points (0.36 percent) to 16,453.08.

    The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 4.51 (0.24 percent) to 1,876.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 34.39 (0.83 percent) to 4,089.51.

    Over the weekend, clashes between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine loyalists heated up in eastern Ukraine and “ignited concerns about the prospect of a civil war,” said Patrick O’Hare ofBriefing.com.

    “Those concerns, and worries about potential spillover effects, have weighed on European markets today and have helped exert some downward pressure” on Wall Street, he said.

    Also weighing on sentiment was HSBC’s worse-than-expected data on manufacturing in China, showing the sector contracted for a fourth consecutive month in April, analysts said.

    Dow member Pfizer shed 2.2 percent after first-quarter earnings beat Wall Street but sales disappointed. The largest US pharmaceutical company said it was continuing to push for a takeover of British rival AstraZeneca, which rejected its increased offer Friday.

    Retail giant Target announced that chief executive Gregg Steinhafel was stepping down, nearly five months after hackers stole data on potentially more than 100 million customers.

    Steinhafel, chief executive since 2008, will resign immediately as chief executive and chairman of the board. Chief financial officer John Mulligan has been appointed interim CEO, the company said. Target shares slid 2.9 percent.

    General Motors dropped 0.5 percent after issuing a recall of some sport utility vehicles over the weekend for a potential diesel fuel leak that could cause fire.

    Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury edged up to 2.60 percent from 2.59 percent Friday, while the 30-year rose to 3.38 percent from 3.37 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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