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US stocks end lower on revived China trade angst

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished lower on Friday (Nov 2), ending a three-day winning streak on renewed uncertainty over US-China trade talks and disappointing Apple results.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite suffered the biggest drop, shedding 77.06 points (1.04 per cent) to 7,356.99 following a big fall in Apple shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 109.91 points (0.43 per cent) to 25,270.83, while the broad-based S&P 500 declined 17.31 points (0.63 per cent) to 2,723.96.

US stocks had opened higher, in part due to optimism over trade talks after President Donald Trump said on Thursday talks with China were "moving along nicely" and Bloomberg News reported that Trump had directed staff to begin drafting a potential trade agreement.

But White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow poured cold water on expectations for a breakthrough, telling CNBC "there's no massive movement to deal with trade," in an interview that helped push stocks lower.

Trump himself told journalists that he expected a "very good deal" with China, helping to lift stocks marginally from session lows. Some analysts have taken the remarks with a grain of salt ahead of next week's US congressional elections.

"The wind was taken out of the sails" by the "walking-back" from Trump officials on trade, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B Riley FBR. "The largest headwind in this market is China trade."

US government data showed the world's biggest economy added 250,000 jobs in October, well above analyst expectations. Unemployment held steady at 3.7 per cent and wages rose a solid 3.1 per cent above the year-ago level.

Analysts said the report should keep the Federal Reserve on track to continue hiking interest rates, including in December.

Apple slumped 6.6 per cent as investors focused on lower-than-expected volume of iPhone sales, and expressed disappointment at the fourth-quarter sales outlook, which was lower than some analysts expected.

But the tech giant reported a 32 per cent jump in quarterly earnings to US$14.1 billion.

Oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron rose 1.6 per cent and 3.2 per cent after both reported big increases in third-quarter earnings, with Chevron's profits more than doubling to US$4.0 billion.

Food giant Kraft Heinz plummeted 9.7 per cent after reporting a 33.3 per cent fall in third-quarter profits to US$630 million due to higher costs but Starbucks surged 9.7 per cent after reporting a 3.0 per cent rise in comparable store sales, topping analyst expectations.
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