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Dow briefly plunges 400 points after data, oil rout

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The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 330 points lower. Earlier, the index briefly fell more than 400 points in morning trade to dip below the psychologically key 16,000 level

US stocks traded sharply lower Friday after a slew of disappointing US data, a fresh plunge in oil to below USD 30 a barrel and a sell-off in Chinese stocks that added to mounting concerns about slowing global growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 330 points lower. Earlier, the index briefly fell more than 400 points in morning trade to dip below the psychologically key 16,000 level.

Financials led decliners in the S&P 500 as the major averages held about 2 percent lower.

"Obviously it started with growth concerns overseas and now we're (hitting) ourselves with the same growth concerns as retail sales were weak and Empire manufacturing that collapsed," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.

Dow futures briefly fell 400 points and the 10-year Treasury yield dipped below 2 percent after retail sales declined 0.1 percent in December. Ex-autos, retail sales also fell 0.1 percent.

US crude oil traded about 5 percent lower ahead of the US market open, below $30 a barrel to hit its lowest in more than 12 years. Brent crude was also sharply lower below $30 a barrel.

The January Empire manufacturing was minus 19.4.

The Producer Price Index fell 0.2 percent in December after rising 0.3 percent in November.

Industrial production for December fell 0.4 percent. Capacity utilization was 76.5 percent. Consumer sentiment and business inventories are set to come out at 10:00 a.m. Friday also marks an options expiration day that could bring more volatility.

New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said that future rate hikes depend on data and that rates are set to continue on gradual upward path. He added that overseas economies pose risk to the United States and there's little change in outlook since the Fed meeting.

Core inflation is quite stable despite lower energy, Dudley said, noting 2016 growth is to be slightly above 2 percent.

The Shanghai Composite fell about 3.5 percent. European stocks were down more than 2.5 percent in morning trade ET.

The U.S. dollar index was down more than half a percent. The euro was at 1.09 and the yen at at 116.8 yen against the greenback.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, topped 28.5 to hit its highest since September in morning trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 347 points, or 2.13 percent, at 16,027, with Intel leading all constituents lower.

The S&P 500 traded down 41 points, or 2.21 percent, at 1,879, with financials leading all 10 sectors lower.

The Nasdaq composite fell 110 points, or 2.40 percent, to 4,506.

About 13 stocks declined for every advancer on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 199 million and a composite volume of 423 million in morning trade.