By Joshua Freed
The Associated Press
More signs of distress in China’s economy and rising U.S. bond yields caused a big drop in U.S. stocks on Monday.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 218 points, or 1.5 percent, to 14,582, after the first half-hour of trading.
The declines began with a sharp sell-off in Asia, including a 5 percent plunge in China’s Shanghai Composite Index. That was the index’s biggest loss in four years. The decline was prompted by a government crackdown on off-balance sheet lending, which made investors worry about China’s economic growth.
The selling spread to Europe. France’s benchmark stock index fell 1.8 percent, Germany’s 1.2 percent.
In the U.S., the yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.62 percent from 2.54 Friday, the highest level in almost two years. As recently as May 3, those yields were just 1.6 percent.
The rise in U.S. rates began after comments from the Federal Reserve last week that said the Fed’s bond-buying program could wrap up next year as long as economic conditions continue to improve. The Fed’s easy-money policies have made borrowing cheaper and boosted corporate balance sheets.
Investors have worried that higher U.S. interest rates will hurt homebuilding companies if steeper mortgage rates make it harder for people to buy homes. PulteGroup slumped 67 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $18.13.
In other U.S. stock trading, the Standard & Poor’s index fell 25 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,570. The Nasdaq composite fell 50 points, or 1.5 percent, to 3,307.
Banks had some of the biggest losses in early trading. Financial stocks in the S&P 500 index fell 2.1 percent.
Other stocks with big moves included:
Tenet Healthcare rose $2.55, or almost 9 percent, to $45 after offering to buy Vanguard Health Systems Inc. for $1.8 billion. The offer of $21 per share pushed Vanguard stock up $8.09, or 64 percent, to $20.62.
Facebook fell 82 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $23.71. Monday was the first full trading day after Facebook acknowledged it had accidentally exposed contact information for 6 million users to some other users.