Markets Right Now: Stocks drop on China concerns, J&J sinks

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NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):

2:42 p.m.

Stocks are falling sharply on Wall Street on new concerns about slowing growth in China’s economic engine and disarray surrounding plans for Britain to exit the European Union.

Johnson & Johnson plunged 10 percent in heavy trading Friday after Reuters reported that the company has known since the 1970s that its talc sometimes contained asbestos, a charge the company denies.

The losses pushed the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average further into the red for the year.

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The S&P 500 index fell 53 points, or 2 percent, to 2,579. It’s on track for its lowest close since April.

The Dow shed 543 points, or 2.2 percent, to 24,145. The Nasdaq composite skidded 149 points, or 2.1 percent, to 6,921.

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11:45 a.m.

Stocks are slumping on Wall Street again on new concerns about China’s economy and as Johnson & Johnson plunges.

Weak economic data from China Friday renewed worries that a powerful engine for global growth was slowing down. Industrial output and retail sales slowed in November.

Johnson & Johnson plunged 10.4 percent after Reuters reported that the company has known since the 1970s that its talc baby powder sometimes contained asbestos. The stock was on pace for its biggest drop since 2002.

Technology companies fell. Software maker Adobe fell 6.2 percent after issuing a weak earnings forecast.

The S&P 500 fell 41 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2,609.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 449 points, or 1.8 percent, to 24,145. The Nasdaq skidded 101 points, or 1.4 percent, to 6,968.

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9:35 a.m.

U.S. stocks are following global market indexes lower after some weak economic reports from China.

Retail sales and industrial production in China both slowed in November.

Technology and internet companies slumped in early trading on Wall Street Friday. Cisco Systems lost 2.5 percent and Facebook fell 1.5 percent.

Software maker Adobe lost 4.7 percent after its fourth-quarter profit fell short of Wall Street’s estimates, and Starbucks fell 3.9 percent after issuing a disappointing growth forecast.

The S&P 500 index fell 26 points, or 1 percent, to 2,624.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 249 points, or 1 percent, to 24,347. The Nasdaq composite skidded 87 points, or 1.2 percent, to 6,982.

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