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Markets: industrial stocks slipped Friday after China said it would take more steps to keep its economy from growing too fast.

Markets: Industrial stocks slipped Friday after China said it would take more steps to keep its economy from growing too fast. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 45 points but had fallen as much as 160 points. Shares of three Dow stocks with extensive business overseas--Alcoa, Boeing and General Electric--all fell more than 1%. Regulators in China are trying to keep that nation's rapid economic growth from getting out of hand. But investors worry that a slowdown in China could disrupt a U.S. recovery by hurting exports and profits of companies that do business there. Just the whiff of a slowdown in China was enough to batter shares of industrial companies and materials producers. That's because a slower-growing Chinese economy would mean weaker demand for industrial goods like metals and jet engines. Commodities prices also fell, which hurt companies that rely on oil, copper and other basic materials to make money.

The surprise announcement out of China came a day after a tame inflation report raised hopes that the country wouldn't have to do more to put the brakes on its supercharged economy. The market pulled off of its lows as traders saw merit in China's policy of keeping its growth under control. China's move to curtail lending was only the latest development to rattle traders. The stock market has fallen from 15-month highs in the past four weeks as investors recoil from policy fights in Washington and from economic problems popping up in Europe, such as Greece's debt crisis. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 6.5% from its recent peak Jan. 19. A similar action to curb bank lending nearly a month ago in China spooked the market and helped start a slide that has brought major indexes down for four straight weeks.

The concern about China mainly overshadowed a Commerce Department report that retail sales grew more than expected in January. Retail sales rose 0.5% last month, more than the 0.3% increase expected by economists. The report was the best showing since November. The Dow Jones industrial average closed the week up 86.91, or 0.9%, at 10,099.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.32, or 0.9%, to 1,075.51. The Nasdaq composite index rose 42.41, or 2%, to 2,183.53.
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Title Annotation:WALL ST./FINANCE
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Feb 15, 2010
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