NEW YORK, New York - Investors spent Friday rattled throughout the day as stocks tumbled from the opening bell.
Increasing fears over the prospect of a global recession either in 2019 or 2020, and weakness in Chinese economic data published on Friday, and a sell-0ff in Johnson & Johnson kept buyers at bay.
"Weakness showing through in the Chinese economy in terms of the numbers that were reported as a result of the ongoing trade war was certainly a concern that bleeds into global growth concerns," Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago was quoted by the Reuters Thomson news agency as saying.
By the close of trading Friday the Dow Jones industrials had tumbled 496.87 points or 2.02% to 24,100.51. That's 10% below its recent 3 October 2018 peak.
The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 50.59 points or 1.91% to 2,599.95. That was 11.3% below its record high registered on 20 September 2018.
The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite did worst of the three major indices, losing 159.67 points or 2.26% to 6,910.67.
On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar was in demand, sending the Eureopean currencies, the yen and the British pound reeling.
Around the New York close Friday the euro was holding at 1.1300. The British pound was extremely weak at 1.2581, while the yen fell to 113.38.
The Swiss franc declined to 0.9979, while the Canadian dollar fell to 1.3380.
The Australian dollar weakened to 0.7179, while the New Zealand dollar fell to 0.6798.
On overseas markets, European bourses recorded modest falls, whilst Asian markets were sold off.
At the close on Friday London's FTSE 100 had declined 32.33 points or 0.47% to 6,845.17.
The German DAX fell 58.93 points or 0.54% to 10,865.77.
The Paris-based CAC 40 was off 43.21 points or 0.88% at 4,853.70.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo was the worst performer, losing 441.36 points or 2.02% to 21,374.83.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng tumbled 429.56 points or 1.62% to 26,094.78.
China's Shanghai Composite dropped 40.31 points or 1.53% to 2,593.74.
In Australia, the All Ordinaries closed 56.50 points or 0.99% lighter at 5,678.80.