U.S. Stocks Open Lower as China Trading Halted After Plunge

NEW YORK (AP) -
A trader talks on the phone as he walks outside the New York Stock Exchange before the opening bell of the trading session in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 7, 2016. Wall Street was set to open sharply lower for a second straight day on Thursday after China allowed the yuan to fall further and oil prices slid to near 12-year lows, raising concerns over the state of the global economy. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A trader talks on the phone as he walks outside the New York Stock Exchange before the opening bell of the trading session in Manhattan, New York, Thursday. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

U.S. stocks are opening sharply lower as worries intensify about China’s economy and dropping oil prices. China’s main stock index plunged again Thursday, triggering the second automatic halt in trading this week.

The price of oil sank to its lowest level in 12 years as traders worried that a slump in China, the world’s second-largest economy, would mean lower global demand for energy.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank 275 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,637 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 30 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,960. The Nasdaq composite fell 89 points, or 1.9 percent, to 4,746.

Oil and gas companies again fell more than the rest of the market as energy prices continued to plunge. Ensco dropped 5 percent.