Wall Street slides ahead of Trump tariff announcement

Reuters New York | Updated on September 18, 2018 Published on September 18, 2018

All three major US indexes were lower, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq posting its biggest percentage loss since late July.

New tariffs expected to hit tech, consumer products

US stocks fell on Monday, led by declines in technology and consumer discretionary stocks as investors looked to President Donald Trump's announcement regarding tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

All three major US indexes were lower, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq posting its biggest percentage loss since late July. Wall Street extended its losses ahead of the tariff announcement after Trump asserted his belief that the United States' trade deficit with China was too big, stating “we can't do that anymore’’.

Earlier, China vowed that it will not play defence in the escalating trade dispute, adding further fuel to tensions as a new list of items subject to tariffs, including technology and consumer goods, was anticipated from Washington.

“This is the sixth or seventh time we talked about this particular round of tariffs,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “As long as Trump is comfortable raising tariffs, he believes he's winning.”

Consumer discretionary and technology were the biggest percentage losers on the S&P 500, falling 1.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively. led consumer discretionary stocks lower, falling 3.2 per cent.

Apple Inc has said the moves could hit a “wide range” of its products. The iPhone maker's shares were down 2.7 per cent, providing the biggest drag on the Dow, despite earlier reports that the United States would spare some of its products in the latest round of tariff actions.

All of the so-called FAANG group of momentum stocks closed down between 1.0 per cent and 3.9 per cent. Other FAANG stocks include Netflix, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet.

“(The FAANG stocks have) had great runs; the fact that they'd come off a little bit really doesn't detract from the fact that they've put in some very good performance numbers this year,” Nolte said. But he noted “investors might be slowly looking outside of tech for the next opportunity.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 92.55 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 26,062.12, the S&P 500 lost 16.18 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 2,888.8 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 114.25 points, or 1.43 per cent, to 7,895.79.

The S&P 500's slide was concentrated. Of the 11 major sectors in the index, only four ended the session in negative territory. The CBOE Volatility index, a gauge of investor anxiety, rose 1.54 points, its first increase in six sessions.

Retailers, including Macy's Inc and Kohls Corp, dropped, helping pull the S&P 500 retailers index 2.1 per cent lower. Twitter fell 4.2 per cent, the biggest percentage loser in the S&P 500 technology index, after brokerage MoffettNathanson flagged concerns over rising expenses.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.46-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.12-to-1 ratio favoured decliners. The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 51 new highs and 90 new lows. Volume on US exchanges was 6.21 billion shares, compared with the 6.14 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Published on September 18, 2018
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