Dow plunges over 600 points after downbeat U.S. economic data

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NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Wall Street’s major averages fell sharply on Wednesday as weak U.S. data raised concerns over a recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 613.89 points, or 1.81 percent, to 33,296.96. The S&P 500 sank 62.11 points, or 1.56 percent, to 3,928.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 138.1 points, or 1.24 percent, to 10,957.01.

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with consumer staples and utilities down 2.65 percent and 2.41 percent, respectively, leading the slide.

The market sell-off came despite December U.S. producer price index pointing to further sign of easing inflationary pressures, as investors focused more on recession risks.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday that sales at U.S. retailers dipped 1.1 percent in December, below consensus expectation for a 0.9 percent decline.

Data from the Federal Reserve also showed that U.S. industrial production fell more than expected in December.