U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent in afternoon trading on Wednesday as market turmoil in China eclipsed Greece’s debt crisis, while trading on the New York Stock Exchange resumed after a three-hour halt.
Wall Street maintained its losses after the release of minutes of a June Federal Reserve policy meeting in which officials cited Greece’s debt crisis as a serious concern and said they needed to see more signs of a strengthening U.S. economy before raising interest rates.
The NYSE, a unit of Intercontinental Exchange Inc, resumed trade at 3:10 p.m. EDT after technical problem forced a suspension for more than three hours in the biggest outage to strike a U.S. financial market in nearly two years.
U.S. stocks were in the red even before the halt as the slide in Chinese markets spurred concerns over its impact on global economic growth. All 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the energy index down 1.9 percent.
Chinese shares have fallen more than 30 percent in the last three weeks, and some investors fear China’s turmoil is now a bigger risk than the crisis in Greece.
“The China selloff is spooking the markets,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. “The selloff continues unabated despite efforts by People’s Bank of China to halt this.”
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 207.6 points, or 1.17 percent, to 17,569.31, the S&P 500 lost 28.19 points, or 1.35 percent, to 2,053.15 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 76.58 points, or 1.53 percent, to 4,920.88.
The NYSE halt came shortly after United Airlines was forced to ground flights at all U.S. airports due to computer issues. United Airlines’ shares were down 1.9 percent at $53.29.
Fears of a slowdown in China will be a concern for U.S. companies, especially materials and industrial companies, which derive a chunk of their profit from the region.
Alcoa reports results after the close of markets, kicking off the quarterly earnings season. U.S. corporate profits are expected to have fallen 3.1 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters estimates data.
Tesla Motors fell 4.5 percent to $255.61 after Pacific Crest downgraded the stock to “sector weight” from “overweight,” the second rating cut in two days.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,424 to 494, for a 4.91-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 2,280 issues fell and 494 advanced for a 4.62-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 2 new 52-week highs and 23 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 23 new highs and 132 new lows.