Wall Street falls as growth stocks, glum China data weigh



(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Apple, Tesla biggest drag on S&P 500 and Nasdaq

* Spirit Airlines surges after JetBlue launches hostile takeover

* Indexes off: Dow 0.03%, S&P 0.29%, Nasdaq 0.85%

By Amruta Khandekar

May 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes fell on Monday as downbeat China data added to worries about a global economic slowdown against the backdrop of aggressive policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Chinese and European stock markets fell after data showed China's economic activity cooled sharply in April as COVID-19 lockdowns took a heavy toll on consumption, industrial production and employment.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors declined. Technology .SPLRCT and consumer discretionary .SPLRCD stocks fell 0.8% and 1.7%, respectively.

Big growth companies such as Amazon.com AMZN.O , Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O , Microsoft Corp MSFT.O , Apple Inc AAPL.O , Tesla Inc TSLA.O and Nvidia Corp NVDA.O slipped between 0.6% and 3.9%.

Energy shares .SPNY outperformed and were up 2.3%, followed by gains in defensive sectors such as consumer staples .SPLRCS , utilities .SPLRCU and healthcare .SPLRCR .

The healthcare sector got a boost from a 3.7% jump in the shares of Eli Lilly & Co LLY.N after the drugmaker won U.S. approval for tirzepatide, to treat adults with type 2 diabetes.

Wall Street closed sharply higher on Friday, but still the S&P 500 .SPX and the Nasdaq .IXIC indexes posted their longest weekly losing streaks in over a decade.

"(China data) was kind of the morning overhang on the market, but it's trying to find its footing led by energy. You're seeing people rotate into the winners of the year so far, which are energy and utilities," said Jay Hatfield, chief executive officer at Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.

"We think that a lot of sectors in the market are undervalued."

Investors have been worried that aggressive interest rate hikes by the Fed to combat decades-high inflation could tip the U.S. economy into recession, with the conflict in Ukraine, supply chain snarls and the pandemic-related lockdowns in China exacerbating the situation.

Data on Monday showed factory activity in New York state slumped in May for the third time this year amid a collapse in new orders and shipments.

The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq have fallen 15.8% and 25%, respectively, so far this year, with growth stocks taking a hit on concerns that bigger rate hikes could hurt their future cash flows.

Traders are now pricing a near 86% chance of a 50-basis-point hike by the Fed in June. FEDWATCH

At 11:45 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 9.59 points, or 0.03%, at 32,187.07, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 11.80 points, or 0.29%, at 4,012.09, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 100.64 points, or 0.85%, at 11,704.36.

Focus is now on the retail sales report due on Tuesday, after worrying inflation and consumer sentiment data last week.

Retailers such as Walmart Inc WMT.N , Home Depot HD.N and Target Corp TGT.N are due to report their quarterly results this week.

Spirit Airlines SAVE.N jumped 11% after JetBlue Airways JBLU.O launched a hostile takeover bid for the discount carrier. JetBlue shares slipped 4.5%, while shares of rival bidder Frontier Group ULCC.O gained 6.2%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.03-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 31 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 108 new lows.
Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta

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