(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended sharply lower as a slew of disappointing economic data from America and around the world raised worries over global growth.
S&P 500 Index dropped 2.23 percent to finish at 1,325.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1.96 percent to end at 12,572.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 2.44 percent to close at 2,859.09.
The economic reports came a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve reduced its economic growth projections and plans to extend its "Operation Twist" program, disappointing investors who hoped the policy makers may announce another round of quantitative easing.
On the US economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, a government data showed. Jobless claims fell 2,000 to 387,000 in the week ended June 16 from a revised 389,000 while economists projected 380,000 applications. A report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank showed mid-Atlantic factory index dropping to a negative 16.6 in June from a negative 5.8 in May.
Another report showed that U.S. existing home sales for May dropped more than economists expectations. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales declined to 4.55 million last month from 4.62 million in April, while economists had expected sales to fall to 4.57 million.
In global news, Eurozone private sector activity contracted to the lowest level since 2009, a survey by Markit Economics showed. The HSBC flash purchasing managers' index showed China's manufacturing activity shrank for an eighth straight month in June.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: BBBY, CELG, RHT, ONXX, RAD, MU, KMX, CAG
In corporate news, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) plunged 16.97 percent after the retailer of home products guided second-quarter earnings that trailed Wall Street projections.
Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ:CELG) retreated 11.49 percent after the Summit, New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company decided to withdraw its European application to expand use of its blood-cancer treatment Revlimid.
Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) lost 6.19 percent after the provider of open source software services reported first-quarter billings that came in weaker than some analysts were expecting.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ONXX) rallied 43.07 percent after the South San Francisco, California-based company received an unanimous recommendation for its Kyprolis blood cancer treatment from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee. Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.
(NASDAQ:LGND), which will receive a royalty payment based on Kyprolis sales, jumped 13.30 percent.
CarMax Inc. (NYSE:KMX) dropped 7.24 percent after the retailer of used vehicles posted lower earnings for the first quarter amid flat comparable store used unit sales.
ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) added 2.68 percent after the company reported stronger-than-forecast earnings for the fourth quarter, helped by sales growth at its consumer and commercial food segments and the company forecasts "good" profit growth for 2013.
Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE:RAD) jumped 6.84 percent after the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based drugstore chain reported a narrower loss for the first quarter boosted by same store sales growth, gross margin improvement and an income tax benefit. Yet the company reduced its sales forecast for 2013, citing negative impact from new generic launches.
Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) tumbled 7.76 percent after posting a wider-than-expected loss for the third quarter amid weak margins from the Boise, Idaho-based company's flash memory products.
European markets fell, with Germany's DAX down 0.77 percent to close at 6,343.13. France's CAC40 fell 0.39 percent to finish at 3,114.22. U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 0.99 percent to end at 5,566.36.
Among Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.35 percent to end at 2,262.02. Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.30 percent to close at 19,265.07. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.82 percent to end at 8,824.07. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,032.56, up 0.80 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures tumbled 3.68 percent to $78.450 per barrel while natural gas futures added 2.70 percent to $2.585 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 2.91 percent to $1,568.70 per ounce and silver futures declined 5.35 percent to $26.870 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro slumped 1.21 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2553. The British pound shed 0.81 percent against the greenback to 1.5591, while the dollar gained 0.93 percent against the Japanese yen to 80.2800.