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US: Stocks drop as Volkswagen weighs on automakers

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US stocks opened little changed on Wednesday as commodity prices recovered and positive economic data from Europe helped soften the impact of weak Chinese factory data.

[NEW YORK] US stocks tumbled in opening trade Tuesday, following European markets sharply lower as the Volkswagen emissions scandal hit shares of major automakers.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 16,291.64, down 218.55 points (1.32 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 25.71 (1.31 per cent) to 1,941.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 68.06 (1.41 per cent) to 4,760.90 Leading European bourses, including Paris and Frankfurt, were down more than three per cent as sentiment was dented by the snowballing scandal over Volkswagen's clean-air cheating device in its diesel cars.

General Motors fell 3.2 per cent and Ford 2.9 per cent.

AFP