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Wall Street lower on China tariff worries
August 31, 2018
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NEW YORK: US stocks fell on Thursday, after four days of gains, weighed down by weak results from retailers and on rising concerns over the US-China trade war that has weighed on markets for most of the year.

Washington has proposed slapping tariffs on a further $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which will come into effect next month after a public comment period ends on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Metal prices fell as the Sino-US trade tensions upstaged optimism that the United States and Canada could clinch a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The S&P materials sector sank 0.94 per cent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors. The trade-sensitive industrials index fell 0.25 per cent, led by Caterpillar’s 1.1 per cent decline.

The consumer discretionary index slid 0.35 per cent on weak earnings from retailer Dollar Tree and a drop in Calvin Klein owner PVH Corp.

“I think this is an environment in which, if not for trade news, then we would be trading higher and we have seen that with the bumps in the Mexico trade talks,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

“We’ve had a pretty significant run and I think that we don’t have any more good news to keep that momentum going which is why we’re giving up gains, but very modestly.”

Of the 11 S&P sectors, the biggest gainer was defensive utilities, which was up 0.45 per cent.

Dollar Tree slid 11.5 per cent, the most on the S&P, and Dollar General was down 1.0 per cent after they gave disappointing full-year profit forecasts.

PVH fell 5.6 per cent after the apparel maker said it might be hit by tariffs and reported a higher quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast.


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