Dow set to start the year with a 350-point drop

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By Sam Meredith, CNBC

Wall Street pulled back on the first trading day of the new year, as more disappointing economic data from China hampered global risk appetite.

In early morning pre-market trading on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a negative open of more than 350 points. Futures on the broader S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq also pointed to a weak open.

The moves come after a private sector survey showed manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy contracted for the first time in 19 months. China’s Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for December dipped to 49.7 from 50.2 in November.

The weaker-than-expected data follows a poor official survey on factory output, compounding concerns about a possible economic slowdown this year.

All major stock indexes marked 2018 as their worst yearly performances since the financial crisis.

Despite solid gains on Monday, the S&P and Dow were down 6.2 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, for 2018. The Nasdaq lost 3.9 percent in 2018, its worst year in a decade.


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