(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks tumbled to begin 2016, with the S&P 500 off to its worst start in 15 years as a rout in Chinese equities renewed concern that an economic slowdown there will damp global growth.

Client and other investors returning to the market after the New Year holiday faced a worldwide selloff sparked by weak factory data in China, while a reading that showed the fastest contraction in U.S. manufacturing in six years bolstered anxiety that slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy is spreading. A flareup in tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran added to the unease.

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