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Wall Street tumbles, Dow erases 2018 gains as trade worries worsen

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U.S. stocks slumped and the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased its gains for the year on Tuesday, as a sharp escalation in U.S.-China trade dispute jolted the markets and triggered a rush to safer assets.

President Donald Trump, in an unexpectedly swift and sharp move, threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing warned it would retaliate.

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Trump said his move followed China’s decision to raise tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods, which came after U.S. announced similar tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday.

“This is an unexpected move and clearly an escalation in both trade war rhetoric, and downside risk,” said Chris Payne, managing director at GWM Investment Management.

“China will soon run out of U.S. goods on which to impose retaliatory tariffs which will move this negotiation to a more sensible and constructive forum.”

At 11:01 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 339.21 points, or 1.36 percent, at 24,648.26. The S&P 500 was down 20.53 points, or 0.74 percent, at 2,753.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 75.37 points, or 0.97 percent, at 7,671.66.

The benchmark S&P 500 touched its lowest level in over two weeks, while the Dow fell below its 50-day and 100-day moving averages, considered key technical indicators of short- and near-term momentum.

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The sell-off was broad, with 24 of the 30 Dow components in the red and seven of the 11 major S&P sectors lower.

Volatility returned with a bang. The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as Wall Street’s fear gauge as it measures expected near-term volatility in the S&P 500, hit a near three-week high of 14.68 points, before easing to 14.04.

Shares of Boeing, which has acted as a proxy for trade war tensions with China as it is the single largest U.S. exporter to the country, fell 3.2 percent, weighing the most on the Dow. Construction equipment maker Caterpillar closely followed and was down 3.3 percent.

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The declines weighed on the S&P industrials index, which fell 1.94 percent, the biggest one-day percentage drop in nearly two months.

Demand for safe havens saw yield on the 10-year benchmark U.S. Treasury drop to its lowest in more than two weeks.

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Financials index declined 0.43 percent as big banks weighed. Banks often track yields as higher interest rates can help boost their profits.

Chipmakers, which depend on China for a large portion of their revenue, also slipped, with Intel down 1.6 percent.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index, whose components are relatively more insulated to a global trade war, was down 0.76 percent – in line with the S&P 500.

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Tariff worries dragged FedEx Corp down 2.2 percent and weighed heavily on the Dow Jones Transport index. The package delivery company is expected to issue quarterly report after the bell.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese companies tumbled, with e-commerce giant Alibaba down 3.3 percent and JD.com off 5.7 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.61-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.37-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 58 new highs and 32 new lows.

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Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Former right-wing presidential candidate scamming Americans with toxic bleach cure

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Former diplomat and Reagan adviser Alan Keyes is a well-known gadfly who has run multiple times for president and for Senate, most famously against future President Barack Obama in 2004.

But lately, according to The Daily Beast, he has been involved in a different pursuit: the promotion of a dangerous pseudoscience scam known as the "Miracle Mineral Solution," or MMS.

The substance, which is actually just the powerful bleach chlorine dioxide, is supposedly a cure for everything from viral infections to infertility, and there was even a cultlike church known as the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, that promoted it as a gift from God. MMS has particularly taken root in developing countries like Uganda, but it also has a following in the United States, and many autistic children have been forced to drink it. Versions of this scam have even been promoted on Amazon.

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American exceptionalism is killing the planet

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Ever since 2007, when I first started writing for TomDispatch, I’ve been arguing against America’s forever wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that, despite my more than 60 articles, American blood is still being spilled in war after war across the Greater Middle East and Africa, even as foreign peoples pay a far higher price in lives lost and cities ruined. And I keep asking myself: Why, in this century, is the distinctive feature of America's wars that they never end? Why do our leaders persist in such repetitive folly and the seemingly eternal disasters that go with it?

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Joni Ernst accused of involvement in ‘dark money’ re-election scheme: report

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According to a report from the Associated Press, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) has been accused of illegally working with an outside group to help her re-election prospects in a tough 2020 fight with Donald Trump on the ballot.

According to AP: "An outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst has worked closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects, a degree of overlap that potentially violates the law."

"Iowa Values, a political nonprofit that is supposed to be run independently, was co-founded in 2017 by Ernst’s longtime consultant, Jon Kohan. It shares a fundraiser, Claire Holloway Avella, with the Ernst campaign," the report continued. "And a condo owned by a former aide — who was recently hired to lead the group — was used as Iowa Values’ address at a time when he worked for her."

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