US STOCKS-Wall St drops as weak data raises growth worries
* ISM's factory activity index drops to 49.4 in August
* Jobless claims rise to 263,000 last week vs est. 265,000
* Banks among top drags on S&P, Dow
* Indexes down: Dow 0.43 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.33 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan and Mamidipudi Soumithri
Sept 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street fell on Thursday, starting September on a dour note after a steeper-than-expected decline in monthly factory activity raised doubts about growth and the ability of the economy to withstand an interest rate hike.
A report from the Institute of Supply Management showed U.S. factory activity contracted for the first time in six months in August as new orders and production tumbled.
"It's an under 50 ISM number. Given that the Fed is so data-dependent, the market is worrying about how that will affect the Fed's decision," said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust in Pennsylvania.
The report precedes Friday's monthly nonfarm payrolls numbers which are likely to set the tone for the Fed policy meeting regarding the timing of the next rate hike. Continuación...