-- Investors around the globe largely brushed off China's weaker-than-expected economic report and pushed stocks higher this morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index rallying at the market open.
China, the world's second largest market, reported that its economy grew 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the slowest quarterly expansion since 2009. The quarterly rate was below analysts’ estimates.
China also reported that full-year growth came in at 6.9 percent, just under the government’s 7 percent target. Investors have been concerned that a prolonged decline in the Chinese economy will drag down growth in the United States and Europe. The economic decline may force Beijing to institute policies to boost growth.
U.S. markets have experienced one of their worst starts of the year, with the Dow and S&P down 10 percent. U.S. markets were closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.