US stocks retreated Monday following a surprisingly weak economic report out of China.
Citigroup's first quarter earnings gains and two big M&A announcements -- DISH Network's $25.5 billion bid for Sprint and Thermo Fisher's $13.6 billion takeover of genetic sequencing powerhouse Life Technologies failed to spark the market.
An hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 81.86 points (0.55 percent) to 14,783.20.
The broad-based S&P 500 sank 10.94 (0.69 percent) to 1,577.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 26.41 (0.80 percent) to 3,268.54.
Official government data Monday said growth in China slowed to 7.7 percent in the first quarter, compared with a median forecast of 8.0 percent in an AFP survey and 7.9 percent in the previous quarter.
"The US equity markets are seeing some pressure in early action, with a plethora of disappointing Chinese economic reports, headlined by a surprising deceleration in 1Q GDP growth, dampening the outlook for global economic expansion," said a market update from Charles Schwab & Co.
Gold equities were in retreat after gold prices continued to plummet. Goldcorp dipped 6.4 percent, Newmont Mining Corp. sank 5.7 percent and Barrick Gold Corp. lost 9.8 percent.
Energy companies were also hit by the China bug as oil prices fell. ConocoPhillips lost 2.7 percent, Chevron gave back 1.6 percent and Exxon Mobil fell 1.3 percent.
Citigroup gained 2.9 percent after quarterly earnings bested analyst forecasts. Citi revenues grew in the most recent quarter, a contrast with some banking competitors who last week reported lower revenues.
Satellite-television provider Dish Network dropped 6.5 percent after proposing a $25.5 billion merger with wireless carrier Sprint Nextel. Sprint surged 13.5 percent.
US laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific put on 3.6 percent after announcing its $13.6 billion bid to acquire biotech firm Life Technologies. Life Tech gained 7.7 percent.
Bond prices gained. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.71 percent from 1.72 percent late Friday, while the 30-year bond dropped to 2.90 percent from 2.92 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.