Apple helps Wall St pull back after S&P hits 8-month low

Imaduddin December 11, 2018

Wall Street fell for a fourth straight day on Monday, sending the S&P 500 to an eight-month low, with banks, energy and health stocks leading losses on mounting worries over global growth, the U.S.-China trade war and uncertainty over Brexit.

But the S&P and Dow Industrials, which have already lost all their gains for the year in a 4.5 percent slide last week, came off their session lows. The bounce came as Apple’s shares sharply cut their losses, which also helped the Nasdaq reverse course and post slight gains.

Markets have been dogged by signs of cooling global growth, concerns over interest rates and worries that escalating tensions between the United States and China could scuttle a fragile trade truce.

“You have political tensions with China, the potential for slowing global growth, and other geopolitical tensions, that continue to weigh on the markets,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. The biggest drag was a 1.85 percent drop in financials as U.S. Treasury yields dropped further on worries over U.S.-China trade conflict and the Brexit turmoil.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was delaying a planned vote in parliament on her Brexit deal as it was set to be rejected “by a significant margin”.

The rate-sensitive bank stocks tumbled 2.56 percent on worries that Brexit could hamper global growth, giving the Federal Reserve more reason to slow its pace of interest rate hikes.

“If the Fed is slowing, that means economic activity is below normal and that can negatively impact earnings,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Apple Inc was trading slightly higher, having erased its losses after Qualcomm Inc said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the import and sale of several iPhone models in China due to patent violations.

Qualcomm rose 1.9 percent, and along with Apple and Microsoft Corp, helped push the technology index  0.51 percent higher.

At 1:23 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 172.18 points, or 0.71 percent, at 24,216.77, the S&P 500  was down 14.22 points, or 0.54 percent, at 2,618.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.75 points, or 0.07 percent, at 6,974.00.

The small-cap Russell 2000, which is less sensitive than its larger peers to global worries such as trade, fell 0.61 percent and was 18.3 percent below its record closing high on Aug. 31.

The health index, which is the best performing S&P sector this year, fell 0.65 percent. Energy stocks retreated 2.38 percent, the most among the 11 S&P sectors as oil prices fell.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.92-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 90 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded four new highs and 343 new lows.

Copyright Reuters, 2018
 

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