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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks fell sharply on Thursday as earnings from online listings company Yelp and others disappointed while US data showed only modest growth in consumer spending.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 195.01 points (1.08 per cent) to 17,840.52.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 21.34 (1.01 per cent) to 2,084.51, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 82.22 (1.64 per cent) to 4,941.42.
Yelp plummeted 23.2 per cent after forecasting second-quarter sales of US$131 to US$134 million, below Wall Street projections of US$138.4 million. Analysts also rapped the company for a weak performance in attracting users.
Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, said government data showing consumer spending rose 0.4 per cent in March was "a little underwhelming" after Wednesday's "terrible" report on first-quarter economic growth.
"As you've had continually worse economic numbers, that's only increased the concerns about an economic slowdown," he said.
Tech stocks were especially weak, with Apple falling 2.7 per cent, and Facebook and Google both dropping 2.1 per cent.
Another Nasdaq sector, biotechs, reacted poorly to a disappointing earnings report from Celgene, which posted sales of US$2.06 billion, below the US$2.11 billion analyst forecast.
Celgene, which also gave a disappointing earnings forecast, fell 4.5 per cent. Amgen lost 1.9 per cent and Biogen shed 2.6 per cent.
Dow component ExxonMobil lost 0.6 per cent after reporting a 45.7 per cent decline in first-quarter earnings to US$4.9 billion due to lower oil prices. The results translated to US$1.17 per share, well above the 83 cents projected by analysts.
Marriott International fell 4.6 per cent despite reporting a 20 per cent rise in first-quarter earnings to US$207 million. Jefferies said the stock has been hit by concerns about the hotel chain's high valuation.
Media giant Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and other networks, lost 4.4 per cent after reporting a net loss of US$53 million in the quarter ending March 31 due to a previously announced US$784 million charge.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury was unchanged from Wednesday at 2.04 per cent, while the 30-year dipped to 2.75 per cent from 2.76 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.