Dow Sheds 250 Points as Trade War Worries Weigh on Industrials

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Major U.S. manufacturers have been the heaviest hit since Trump trailered and then announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports earlier this month.

The issue overshadowed China’s report that its factory output grew much faster than expected at the start of the year, suggesting the world’s second largest economy may be picking up speed.

By 11:51 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 257.31 points, or 1.03 percent, at 24,749.72. The S&P 500 fell 0.46 percent to 2,752.71 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.32 percent to 7,487.06.

The third straight monthly fall in retail sales pointed to slowing U.S. growth but cooled concerns of Federal Reserve raising interest rates at a faster pace in 2018.

Following the data, J.P. Morgan analysts lowered their first-quarter gross domestic product growth estimate to 2 percent from 2.5 percent.

Financial stocks fell 0.37 percent, tracking a decline in U.S. bond yields on the back of soft retail sales data.

Shares of department store operators Kohl’s fell 2.9 percent, while Macy’s and Nordstrom dropped more than 1 percent.

Shares in Qualcomm fell about 3 percent and those in rival Broadcom declined 0.5 percent after the Singapore-based chipmaker formally withdrew its bid for Qualcomm Inc but said it would pursue other targets.

Signet Jewelers fell about 17 percent after the company reported lower same-store sales in the fourth quarter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,454 to 1,293. On the Nasdaq, 1,506 issues fell and 1,197 advanced.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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