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Dow dives nearly 400 points as China sell-off roils world markets

Dow dives nearly 400 points as China sell-off roils world markets
An address sign on Wall Street in New York. (Associated Press)

U.S. stocks were hammered again Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling nearly 400 points, after another sell-off in China kept roiling global markets.

Crude oil prices, meanwhile, dropped to a 12-year low, in part because of fears that the slowdown in China's economic growth could lead to lower oil demand.

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China's stock market was shuttered after only 14 minutes of active trading Thursday, ending its shortest trading day in history, after the  Shanghai Composite index plunged 7% and triggered newly installed "circuit breakers" that halted dealing for the second time this week.

The same scenario occurred Monday. After Thursday's halt, China said it would suspend the circuit breakers.

This time the drop came after China's central bank moved to weaken the nation's currency, known as the renminbi or the yuan.

The sell-off first spread to other Asian markets and to European stock exchanges, where key indices dropped about 1% to 2%, and then to U.S. markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 392.41 points, or 2.3%, to 16,514.10. The blue-chip gauge has lost 5.2% just this week.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 47.2 points, or 2.4%, to 1,943.09, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index tumbled 146.34 points, or 3%, to 4,689.43. The Nasdaq is down 6.4% this week.

Prices fell across nearly every industry. Apple Inc. dropped 4.2%, Chevron Corp. was down 3.5%, and Caterpillar Inc. fell 3.4%.

The benchmark U.S. light crude oil for near-term delivery fell 70 cents, or 2%, to $33.27 a barrel, its lowest level since 2004.

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