ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. stocks slumped on Friday as weak data from China and Europe stoked fears of a global economic slowdown, while Johnson & Johnson slid after Reuters reported the company knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder.
Investors worried about global growth after China reported weak monthly retail sales growth and industrial output numbers, as disappointing economic data was released from Euro zone.
The Johnson & Johnson report, which the company has disputed, sent its shares tumbling 10.2 percent in heavy volume, making it the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials.
The pharma major also pulled down the S&P healthcare index 3.6 percent, making it the biggest decliner among the 11 major sectors.
The technology index, which includes a number of companies with global operations, especially China, dropped 2.4 percent.
Strong U.S. retail sales data appeared to have little impact on markets, with the S&P retail sector falling 2 percent.
"Solid fundamental data that gets to the core of the U.S. economy is overshadowed by the potential for a global slowdown washing up on our shores," said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.
But Blancato said he does not buy the thesis that slowing growth outside of the United States will hurt the U.S. economy and that the decline was a buying opportunity.
The Dow was down 496.87 points at closing on Friday.