U.S. stocks are falling sharply, following a global rout as investors pull money out of emerging markets like Turkey and Argentina and worry about a slowdown in China. Traders seeking safety shifted money into lower-risk assets like U.S. government debt and the Japanese yen. Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market as traders dumped assets seen as being risky.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 180 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,016 as of noon Eastern time Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 23 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,804. The Nasdaq composite was down 65 points, or 1.5 percent, at 4,153.
FLIGHT FROM RISK: Investors were worried about sharp drops in the values of currencies in several emerging markets including Turkey, Russia, South Africa and Argentina. The downturn began Thursday following signs that manufacturing was contracting in China, a major importer of raw materials and a key driver of global economic growth.
"All of that is making the market very sensitive and very vulnerable to growth expectations in emerging markets," said with Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.
SMALL CAPS HIT HARD: In another sign that investors are avoiding risk, stocks of smaller companies had even larger declines than broader U.S. market. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks fell 2.2 percent, twice as much as the Dow.
BIGGEST LOSERS: Railroad operator Kansas City Southern plunged $16.60, or 14 percent, to $100.75 after its earnings fell short of what analysts were looking for. Tool seller W.W. Grainger Inc. dropped $9.31, or 4 percent, to $247.70 after reporting income that also disappointed investors. Engine-maker Cummins Inc. fell $5.06, or 4 percent, to $127.
LOUSY WEEK: The Dow has fallen every day this week, leaving it down 2.7 percent. The S&P 500 had small gains Monday and Tuesday but is still down 1.9 percent since last Friday.