* China Feb exports fall most since May 2009
* U.S. crude price falls more than 3 pct
* Illumina slides after change in leadership
* Indexes down: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.8 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Rodrigo Campos
March 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday after soft Chinese trade data rekindled fears that the global economy is weaker than anticipated and a decline in crude prices brought down energy shares.
China’s February trade performance was far worse than economists had expected, with exports tumbling the most in more than six years. The 16th-straight monthly decline in imports weighed on stocks in the basic materials sector, which was down 1.7 percent.
U.S. crude settled down 3.7 percent in its largest daily decline since bottoming for the year in Feb. 11. Since then, the U.S. barrel of crude rose as much as 45.5 percent.
Despite the recent rebound in crude prices, oversupply and expectations of weak demand from China have weighed on sentiment.
“While I’d love to see oil break out, I don’t think it will happen yet,” said Uri Landesman, president at Platinum Partners in New York.
Goldman Sachs analysts said the recent rally in oil was premature as prices would need to remain lower for longer to help rebalance the market later in the year.
Landesman said the S&P 500 is still in a downward trend and will likely stall near the 2,000 level, heading toward support near 1,825 before testing the record set last May above 2,100. The index on Monday closed above 2,000 for the first time since Jan. 5.
“It will be trading in that channel based on slow global (economic) growth prospects,” Landesman said.
At 2:51 p.m. EST (1951 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 65.92 points, or 0.39 percent, to 17,008.03, the S&P 500 lost 15.91 points, or 0.79 percent, to 1,985.85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 38.93 points, or 0.83 percent, to 4,669.33.
The largest percentage decliner on the Nasdaq 100 was Illumina Inc, down 6.9 percent at $150.55 after it announced late on Monday the appointment of a new chief executive.
Shake Shack tumbled 10.8 percent, falling to $37.69 after the burger chain issued disappointing results and forecast.
Shares of Urban Outfitters were up 16.9 percent at $32.91, after better-than-expected sales for its Free People brand.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 2.6-to-1 and on the Nasdaq, 1,991 issues fell and 803 rose.
The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 32 new lows. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Nick Zieminski)