US stocks tumbled Friday, closing lower for a second straight week with the worst declines of the year.
In international economic news, the Chinese economy grew at an annual pace of 8.1 percent, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. It marked a deceleration from an 8.9 percent growth rate in the final quarter. Investors are fearful of a slowdown in China following years of breakneck growth, with some believing there is an inflating property bubble. But the World Bank predicts the Chinese economy will slow to an 8.2 percent growth rate this year and rebound to 8.6 percent in 2013.
In US economic news, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment index read lower than expected. The index fell to 75.7 in April, from 76.2 in March, while analysts were expecting the index to slip to 76.1. Also, the government reported that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in March, mostly because of the increase in gas prices, with a year-over-year increase of 2.7 percent. The reading met analysts’ expectations.
The dollar gained against the euro, the pound, and the yen. Light sweet crude oil for May delivery fell 47 cents to $103.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures declined $12.30 to $1,667.20 an ounce.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 136.99, or 1.05 percent, to 12,849.59. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index decreased 17.31, or 1.25 percent, to 1,370.26. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index 44.22, or 1.45 percent, to 3,011.33.