Oil Slide, China Worries Jolt Wall Street

Oil Slide, China Worries Jolt Wall Street


(Reuters) – The S&P 500 fell more than 1 percent on Friday, with shares of large technology, industrial and material companies taking a hit as weak Chinese data and a slide in oil prices raised concerns about global growth.

The S&P technology index fell 1.9 percent as Apple Inc dropped 2.4 percent and semiconductor stocks tumbled 2.1 percent.

Shares of Caterpillar, which serves as a bellwether for global economic activity, fell 3.1 percent, while the S&P energy index dropped 0.9 percent with U.S. crude prices <LCOc1> entering “bear market” territory. [O/R]

“When you look overseas, there’s not just concerns about a global slowdown, but a global recession that might be brewing,” said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer of Santa Ana, California-based First American Trust.

“When overseas markets slow down, U.S. economy might be okay, but global corporations, with currency translation and revenue growth challenges, get hit.”

In the backdrop of a bitter trade dispute between the Washington and Beijing, Chinese data showed producer inflation fell for the fourth straight month in October on cooling domestic demand and manufacturing activity, while car sales fell for a fourth consecutive month.

The report sent global stocks into a tailspin, with trade and commodity sensitive sectors such industrials and materials falling more than 1 percent.

The Federal Reserve policymakers left interest rates unchanged on Thursday, as expected, and their policy statement signaled more rate hikes ahead, with the fourth hike this year expected in December.

The latest data on U.S. producer prices did little to ease worries about rising interest rates, which have hampered gains in stocks this year.

Prices paid by producers rose 0.6 percent in October — their fastest pace in six years and more than the expected 0.2 percent rise — fueled by a jump in costs for energy and trade services.

“Markets are waiting to see how that (producer prices) will flow through to consumer prices and the personal consumption expenditure. Inflation is really going to be the canary in the coalmine for the Fed,” said Cliff Hodge, director of investments at Cornerstone Wealth in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At 12:35 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 211.38 points, or 0.81 percent, at 25,979.84, the S&P 500 was down 29.24 points, or 1.04 percent, at 2,777.59 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 137.84 points, or 1.83 percent, at 7,393.04.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with slight gains seen in the defensive consumer staples index.

General Electric Co fell 8.2 percent to near 10-year lows at $8.35 after J.P. Morgan cut price target on the stock to $6 from $10.

Activision Blizzard Inc was down 9.9 percent after the video game publisher gave a dismal fourth-quarter forecast.

Dow-member Walt Disney Co rose 2 percent after the media company reported better-than-expected results as its theme parks and Marvel movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp” attracted crowds.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.82-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.28-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 27 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 82 new lows.

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



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