Wall Street tumbles over 1pc on trade, growth fears

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  • Technology, among sectors most exposed to China, was the hardest hit

US stock indexes fell more than 1pc on Thursday, as investors sold off technology, industrials and energy stocks on fears that a spiralling trade war between the United States and China would crimp global growth.

Technology, among sectors most exposed to China, was the hardest hit. Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc were down more than 1pc, dragging the sector lower, while the chip index dropped 2.3pc.

Oil prices plunged more than 4pc on trade fears, leaving the energy index down 3.2pc, the biggest decliner among the major 11 S&P sectors.

Materials, financial and consumer discretionary sectors also posted losses of more than 1pc in a broad-based decline.

“This is a textbook defensive move,” said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade in New Jersey.

“The one thing that can give markets some reprieve is that if the US and China come back to the negotiating table and delay the tariffs they have already put in place.”

Beijing said on Thursday Washington needs to correct its “wrong actions” for trade talks to continue after the United States blacklisted Huawei Technology Co Ltd last week.

In further evidence of the trade war hitting domestic economy, data from IHS Markit showed US manufacturing growth measured its weakest pace of activity in nearly a decade and new orders fell for the first time since August 2009.

The newest round of US tariffs on Chinese imports will cost the typical American household $831 annually, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York research.

Stocks have succumbed to selling pressure in May after Washington and Beijing engaged in tit-for-tat tariffs and other retaliatory measures, with the S&P 500 on track to post its worst monthly decline since the December sell-off.

At 11:23 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 357.04 points, or 1.39pc, at 25,419.57. The S&P 500 was down 37.88 points, or 1.33pc, at 2,818.39 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 117.30 points, or 1.51pc, at 7,633.54.

US Treasury yields dropped, and two yield curve indicators briefly inverted on Thursday, sending the banking index down 1.95pc.

Defensive utilities was up 0.2pc, while real estate was flat.

Among other stocks, NetApp Inc slumped 11.9%, the most on the S&P 500, after the data storage equipment maker forecast current-quarter profit and revenue below Wall Street estimates.

In a bright spot, L Brands Inc jumped 12.5pc after the retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 4.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and 21 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 18 new highs and 134 new lows.

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