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Nasdaq falls 1%, closes at lowest since mid-March despite Apple gain

U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday as the yen held stronger against the dollar amid renewed global growth concerns from weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data.

"I don't see one lever pushing everything. It's a combination of again more of that risk-off, valuations a little extended, earnings did come in a little better (but still declining), concerns coming out of weaker PMI numbers pointing to lackluster growth," said Tim Dreiling, senior portfolio manager with the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.

The Nasdaq composite ended more than 1 percent lower for its lowest close since March 14. ( Tweet This )

The Dow Jones industrial average closed about 140 points lower after a choppy session that saw the index briefly more than halve morning losses of 220 points.

Goldman Sachs contributed the most to declines, while the top contributor to gains was Apple, which closed up 1.6 percent to snap its first eight-day losing streak since 1998.

"The dominant theme in the macro economy is low nominal growth. That's what central banks are fighting against. The hallmark to me was the Bank of Japan move into negative interest rates," said David Lafferty, chief market strategist at Natixis Global Asset Management.

"What you're seeing today in the small sell-off we've had is a collection of small negative events. ... I don't think this is the beginning of a downtrend," he said. Lafferty expects stocks to remain in a range for both the near-term and long-term.

In early afternoon trade, the major averages came well off session lows. The VIX held well off earlier highs, and financials came off session lows, but Treasury yields held lower.

"It just looks like we had a nice sell-off this morning and we're getting a little bounce," said Peter Coleman, head trader at Convergex.

"We're still pretty close to the highs of the year so it's not like this is pretty dramatic," he said.

The euro came off highs after topping $1.16 to levels not seen since last August, while the yen was around its strongest against the dollar since October 2014. The dollar index recovered from 15-month lows after falling half a percent Monday for its sixth-straight day of decline.

It's important to know why the dollar is lower and against which currencies, said Andres Jaime, global FX and rates strategist at Barclays.

"Today it's, the dollar is not softer against the Swiss franc, the yen and the euro because the Fed is not going to raise rates. It's down because risk aversion has increased a bit," he said.

Treasury yields fell, with the 2-year yield around 0.75 percent and the 10-year yield around 1.80 percent.

China's Caixin...