U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday as a continued decline in energy prices stoked inflation worries and Chinese and commodity markets extended their weekly decline.
The S&P 500 was down 2.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.4%, and the Nasdaq tumbled 3.2%. The Dow was on track for its worst month since February 2009, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was on track for its worst monthly performance since January 2008. The Volatility Index, otherwise known as the "fear index," jumped 16.3% to 27.82.
U.S. producer prices fell in December, the third straight month in decline, as tumbling energy prices continued to pressure inflation. The producer price index decreased 0.1% over the month, contributing to a 1% drop in the past 12 months. Excluding volatile items such as food and energy prices, core prices rose 0.2%.
Meanwhile, retail sales in the U.S. fell 0.1% in December, dragged down by a decline in gas prices. Excluding gas, retail sales were flat.
Business activity in the New York region fell to its worst level since the recession. The Empire State Factory Index fell to negative 19.4 in January from 6.2 in December. The reading is its lowest since April 2009.
Industrial production also came in below estimates, falling 0.4% in December, double the fall economists had expected. The measure had dropped 0.9% in November.
Consumer confidence bucked the trend of poor data this morning to rise in January, according to the latest reading from the University of Michigan. Sentiment climbed to 93.3 from 92.6 in the preliminary reading, its fourth straight monthly increase. Confidence was boosted by better expectations over the future of the economy.