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US stocks drop on weak international economic data


[NEW YORK] US stocks dropped in opening trade on Thursday following weak international economic data even as some leading retailers jumped on strong earnings reports.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,623.11, down 62.62 points (0.35 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 7.10 (0.35 per cent) to 2,041.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 20.42 (0.44 per cent) to 4,655.29.

Preliminary figures from British bank HSBC indicated manufacturing activity in China was stagnant in November. HSBC's purchasing managers index (PMI) for China fell to 50 from 50.4 in October. A rating below 50 means contraction.

A composite PMI of eurozone business activity dropped to 51.4 in November, down from 52.1 in October, the slowest pace in 16 months.

Best Buy (+5.1 per cent) and Williams-Sonoma (+8.1 per cent) were among the retailers to move higher following earnings releases.