US STOCKS-Wall St tumbles as Ukraine tensions rise, China slows
* Emerging markets ETF off 1.8 pct as Russia holds war games near Ukraine
* Latest China data points to slowing economy
* Initial jobless claims fall, retail sales tops estimate
* Dow off 1.4 pct; S&P off 1.2 pct; Nasdaq off 1.5 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks tumbled on Thursday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 suffering their worst day since early February, on rising concerns over Ukraine and Russia and new signs of a slowdown in China.
Selling accelerated in afternoon trading after Russia launched military exercises near its border with Ukraine, showing no sign of backing down in its plans to annex its neighbor's Crimea region despite a stronger-than-expected push for sanctions from the EU and the United States.
In an unusually robust and emotionally worded speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of "catastrophe" unless Russia changes course.
The CBOE Volatility index VIX, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, jumped more than 12 percent to 16.22. The index usually moves inversely to the S&P 500. A key emerging market exchange-traded fund, iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF , fell 1.8 percent to $38.19. Continuación...