Stocks Plunge As China Hits U.S. Goods With Tariffs
U.S. stocks fell sharply on Monday after China imposed tariffs on more than 100 products.
China raised import duties on a $3 billion list of U.S. goods in response to a new U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Meat producer Tyson Foods (TSN)slumped 6 percent percent, to $68.78 while Hormel (HRL) lost 97 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $33.37. Boeing (BA) slid $6.14, or 1.9 percent, to $321.74, while industrial giant Caterpillar (CAT) fell 2.75 percent to $143.33.
The Dow was down 610 points, or 2.5 percent, to 23,492 as of 1:42 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 64 points, or 2.8 percent, while the Nasdaq also lost 2.6 percent.
"Although the macroeconomic impact of tariffs may appear limited when measured by the dollar value of goods affected, if such tariffs are seen by global market participants as signaling an escalation in trade tensions, they will eventually have a broader macroeconomic impact by dampening market sentiment as well as business investment decisions," said Atsi Sheth, managing director at Moody's Investors Service said in a note to clients.
Investors have expressed concern that a trade war between the U.S. and Chinacould slow global commerce and hurt corporate commerce. Starting Monday, China is increasing the tariff rate on eight imported U.S. products, including pork, by 25 percent. It's also imposing a new 15 percent tariff on 120 imported U.S. commodities, including fruits.
China's latest step is just one point of contention between China and Washington, Europe and Japan over a state-led economic model they complain hampers market access, protects Chinese companies and subsidizes exports in violation of Beijing's free-trade commitments. Meanwhile the U.S., Canada and Mexico continue to hold talks about potential changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Large technology companies also saw their shares continue to slump, with Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) all seeing declines on the day. Investors have been exiting the stocks, which led financial markets to record highs earlier this year, amid mounting public scrutiny of tech players' data privacy practices.
After peaking at almost $1,600 a share last month, Amazon shares have slumped recently as investors took a more cautious approach to stocks. The online retailer was also repeatedly criticized by President Donald Trump last week over its shipping deals with the U.S. Postal Service. Despite its recent losses, Amazon stock is still up about 18 percent in 2018.
Tesla's (TSLA) stock fell more than 6 percent earlier in the day, but recovered slightly. The stock declined after the electric car maker said Friday that the vehicle in a fatal crash last week in California was operating on Autopilot mode, making it the latest accident to involve a semi-autonomous vehicle.
Humana (HUM) shares rose following continued reports Walmart (WMT) could buy the company or form a partnership with the health insurer.The Wall Street Journal reported on the possible deal last week. Humana is a major provider of Medicare Advantage coverage for people age 65 and older.
Benchmark U.S. crude lost $1.83, or 2.8 percent, to $63.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid $1.13, or 1.6 percent, to $68.21 a barrel in London.
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