U.S. stocks tumbled again on concerns that a trade war and higher borrowing rates could throttle global growth.
The S&P 500 fell 55 points, or 2.1%, to its biggest weekly loss in more than two years and its lowest level since the volatility-fueled meltdown in early February.
The Dow fell more than 400 points, or 1.77%, to its lowest level since November, led by losses in companies as diverse as 3M to Goldman Sachs. The plunge put the Dow in correction territory, or 11.5% below its peak in January.
Gold rallied and Treasury yields declined as investors sought safe havens.
Global markets were caught in a risk-off mode after China announced retaliation against President Trump’s proposed tariffs announced Thursday. China’s ambassador to the U.S. wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Asian nation scaling back purchases of Treasurys in response to the tariffs.
It’s been a miserable week for higher-risk markets globally, as a trade war edged closer, the tech sector was roiled by Facebook’s privacy scandal and data showed European growth sputtering. Traders had already been bracing for the possibility of slowing expansion as the Fed reiterated its commitment to further interest-rate increases after Wednesday’s hike.
“There is a tug of war between Fed tightening, fiscal stimulus, strong earning but slowing sales and now tariffs and potential trade wars,” said Jason Browne, chief investment strategist at FundX Investment Group.
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Adding to the image of the ascendance of the “America first” faction, Trump said he is replacing White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, a controversial foreign-affairs specialist whom the U.S. Senate declined to confirm as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations.
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