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USA TODAY - Benchmark stock indexes tumbled Monday amid increasing fears about a possible China credit crisis and the risk to stocks and bonds of central banks undoing their "easy money" policies.

In late morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 185 points, 1.3 percent, after diving more than 225 points earlier in the session.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 24 points, about 1.5 percent to around 1,569, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 1.4 percent, about a 46-point drop to about 3,311.

Since the Dow's intraday all-time high on May 22, it is has fallen 5 percent though the benchmark index is still up about 13 percent so far this year.

Worsening Monday's sell-off: The yield on the bellwether 10-year Treasury note soared to 2.64 percent and has risen more than a percentage point the past six weeks.

On Friday, the Dow rose 0.3 percent to close at 14,799.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 1,592.43. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.2 percent to 3,357.25.

In Europe, key indexes were trading sharply lower. Britain's FTSE 100 index was down 1.9 percent and Germany's DAX 30 index was off 1 percent despite an somewhat encouraging report about the country's manufacturing sector. France's CAC 40 index was 1.8 percent lower.

Asian stocks sank Monday after China allowed commercial lending rates to soar in a move analysts said was aimed at curbing a booming underground lending industry.


Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark index ended down 1.3 percent to 13,062.78. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 2.2 percent to 19,813.98 while Korea's KOSPI finished 1.3 percent lower to 1,799.01.

In energy markets, benchmark oil for August delivery was down about 35 cents to about $93.30 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.71 to close at $93.69 in New York on Friday.

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