Caterpillar Inc. and Whirlpool Corp. slumped at least 3 percent after a report showed orders for U.S. durable goods slid twice as much as forecast in October. GDF Suez SA sank 5.7 percent as the world's second-largest utility forecast a ``shortfall'' in the fourth quarter unless natural gas prices are raise.
The S&P 500 lost 1.6 percent to 843.45 at 9:36 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 130.07 points, or 1.5 percent, to 8,349.4. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.9 percent to 1,451.91. Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index slid 2 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed.
The Stoxx 600 has fallen 47 percent in 2008, headed for its worst year on record, as credit losses and writedowns approached $1 trillion in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
National benchmark indexes declined in all 18 markets in western Europe. The FTSE 100 lost 2.7 percent, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc slipping more than 4 percent. France's CAC 40 sank 3.4 percent, led by GDF Suez and Total SA. Germany's DAX slipped 2.9 percent.
Japan’s stocks slumped as concern falling home prices will curb U.S. spending overshadowed a Federal Reserve plan to commit an additional $800 billion to unfreeze credit markets. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 110.71, or 1.3 percent, to close at 8,213.22 in Tokyo, snapping a two-day, 8.1 percent gain.
Indian stocks rose after China slashed its key lending rate and the U.S. committed as much as $800 billion to unfreeze lending, boosting optimism the global economy will weather the recession. The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 331.19, or 3.8 percent, to 9,026.72, the most since Nov. 21.
China’s stocks rose for the first time in five days, led by power producers, after a domestic coal-price benchmark fell and Industrial Securities Co. upgraded its rating on the industry. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China’s two exchanges, rose 9.20, or 0.5 percent, to 1,843.50 at the close, ending a four-day, 6.1 percent decline.