(From Reuters)

Adding to investors’ worries, China’s central bank fixed the yuan at a 4-1/2 year low, further weakening it against the dollar.

U.S. data sparked further concern as factory activity weakened unexpectedly in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Amazon (AMZN.O) weighed the most on the S&P and Nasdaq, falling 6.9 percent to $629.56, while the Nasdaq Biotech Index .NBI was down 4 percent.

There was the turmoil overnight overseas that kind of set the tone … (but) all of the negatives out there have been out there for a while,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“The fact that we closed down on the year, the Fed tightened, it crystallized in investors’ minds that we’re not in the environment we were in throughout most of the recovery.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 417.03 points, or 2.39 percent, to 17,008, the S&P 500 .SPX had lost 47.96 points, or 2.35 percent, to 1,995.98 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC had dropped 142.39 points, or 2.84 percent, to 4,865.02.

The S&P 500 .SPX was on track for its worst start to a year since 2001. Read more

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