Wall St slides after data sparks concerns over economy

Shoaib Ur Rehman December 28, 2018

US stocks fell broadly on Thursday, giving back a chunk of the previous day’s big rally, as fresh concerns arose about the US economy with a measure of consumer confidence dropping by the most in more than three years.

The pullback on the heels of Wednesday’s huge advance, which featured the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s first-ever 1,000 point daily surge, was led by the technology stalwarts that have also been under some of the greatest selling pressure since late summer.

Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc all fell by 3 percent or more.

In a sign some consumers are getting nervous about the economy amid volatile stock markets and the partial shutdown of the US government, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index dropped to a five-month low in December and came in weaker than even the lowest economists’ estimate in a Reuters poll.

“While retail sales have been very strong, consumer confidence has ticked down here and that could continue unless there is progress made on trade, in the US budget battle and certainly central bank’s policy,” said Bryan Reilly, a managing director in the Boston office of CIBC Private Wealth Management.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were lower with energy, technology, consumer discretionary and communication services sectors shedding more than 2 percent each.

All the 30 components of the Dow were in the red.

At 12:40 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 413.17 points, or 1.81 percent, at 22,465.28, the S&P 500 was down 45.92 points, or 1.86 percent, at 2,421.78 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 149.15 points, or 2.28 percent, at 6,405.21.

At current levels, the three indexes are down more than 12 percent for the month, their sharpest decline since the 2008 financial crisis.

“It’s been a very difficult environment. The markets haven’t really been trading on fundamentals very much. With low liquidity and trading models responsible for the majority of trades in recent days, it might not be until the new year till you see greater stability,” said Reilly.

President Donald Trump said he was prepared to wait as long as it takes to get funding for his US-Mexico border wall, a demand that has triggered a partial shutdown of the federal government that is now in its fifth day.

Separately, Reuters reported Trump is considering an executive order in the new year that would bar US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp.

This comes as China and the United States plan face-to-face consultations to resolve their trade dispute, which has rocked stock markets, along with concerns over slowing economic growth and rising interest rates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.93-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.70-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded three new highs and 161 new lows.

Copyright Reuters, 2018




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