Stocks suffer worst setback in five weeks, as global tensions rise

|By:, SA News Editor

Stocks took a pounding, driven by worries about China’s slowing economy and rising tensions in Ukraine, sending the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq to their biggest one-day drops since Feb. 3.

A report that Russian forces were mobilizing military forces near the Ukrainian border appeared to trigger the downhill slide in the averages, which already were giving back early gains.

China reported data overnight that indicated a slowdown in the pace of its economic growth, and a report today said increasing concerns about the financial health of bloated industries have caused Chinese banks to cut lending by as much as 20%.

Markets also may have been unnerved by comments from Stanley Fischer, Pres. Obama's choice for the no. 2 post at the Fed, that the central bank is doing all it can to help the economy, even as it slows down its asset purchases.

Techs and industrials took the worst shellacking, while utility stocks were the only S&P sector to post gains.

Treasury prices surged amid the risk-averse atmosphere, with the 10-year yield falling 8 bps to 2.647% despite rising in morning trade.