Stocks are getting whacked as global-growth fears mount

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  • Stocks were hit hard Tuesday amid fears of a slowing global economy.
  • On Monday, China posted its slowest economic growth in a decade and South Korea saw a big drop in exports.
  • Also on Monday, the IMF downgraded its global growth outlook.
  • Watch US equity markets trade live.

US equity markets were under pressure Tuesday as worries of a slowing global economy persisted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 300 points, or 1.29%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were both lower by 1.32%.

Tuesday's selling comes as US markets reopened after being closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Investors were greeted with rude awakening as they returned to work to see China's economy grew at its slowest pace in at least a decade and South Korean exports plunge versus a year ago.

A report out Monday from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed the Chinese economy grew at a 6.4% year-over-year clip in the fourth quarter, its weakest since Q1 2009. Investor worries were compounded by word that South Korean exports, seen as the world's "economic canary in the coal mine" cratered 14.6% during the first 20 days of the year. Last year, they rose 1%.

Also on Monday, the IMF cut its global growth forecast because of the trade war between the US and China. In its report, the IMF said it now sees global growth of 3.5% this year and 3.6% next, down from its previous forecast of 3.7% and 3.8%.

Looking at things on a company-specific level, Arconic shares cratered as much as 25% after the company's board of directors said it would no longer pursue a sale. Shares recouped a portion of their earlier losses, but were still down more than 16%.

Elsewhere, Netflix slid more than 3% despite getting its first best-picture nomination at the Academy Awards.

Meanwhile, eBay surged more than 6% after the billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer's Elliot Management announced a $1.4 billion stake and laid out its five-step plan for creating value. Elliott says shares could be worth $55-$63 apiece, representing an upside of more than 75% to 100% from Tuesday's price.

On the commodities front, West Texas Intermediate crude oil plunged more than 3% to below $52 a barrel at session lows.

The US 10-year yield was down 3.7 basis points at 2.75%.

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