US stocks fall amid lingering trade worries

US stocks snapped their three-day winning streak on Friday as investors remained unnerved by the stand-off on trade between Washington and Beijing, while the renminbi touched a new low for 2019.

The S&P 500 lost its footing in afternoon trading in New York, after a report from CNBC that scheduling for the next round of US-China trade talks was “in flux”. Wall Street’s benchmark had climbed back earlier in the session, aided by an upbeat report on consumer sentiment but closed with a 0.6 per cent loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 0.4 per cent lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was off 1 per cent, pressured by falling shares in Tesla. The electric car maker slipped 7.6 per cent to its lowest level since December 2016 after a US transportation regulator said Tesla’s Autopilot software was engaged at the time of a fatal crash in Florida.

European equities used their afternoon session to claw back declines from earlier in the day. Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax 30 ended 0.6 per cent lower and the region-wide Stoxx 600 lost ⅓ of 1 per cent. London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent.

The offshore version of China’s currency has weakened nearly 3 per cent against the dollar over the past two weeks as trade tensions reignited, heading back toward the Rmb6.90 mark that has an established pattern of unnerving investors when approached.

A fresh exchange of tariffs between the US and China has cast a shadow over global markets, with investors worried that inflamed trade tensions have put a potential deal at risk. But stocks were able to brush off those concerns for much of the week, giving the S&P its first three-day winning streak this month, lifted by President Donald Trump’s reassurances that a trade pact will materialise and his decision to delay tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts.

The S&P 500 closed Friday with a 0.8 per cent decline for the week. The Dow slid for the fourth straight week, down 0.7 per cent. The Nasdaq was down 1.3 per cent. It marked the first back-to-back weekly drops for the S&P and Nasdaq since the fourth quarter of last year.

Darker rhetoric on the dispute carried by Chinese state media and simmering geopolitical tension in the Middle East kept investors moving out of riskier assets on Friday, although moderate demand for havens left them short of a full flight to safety.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield fell 1.1 basis points to 2.3944 per cent, staying off the previous session’s seven week intraday low of 2.3540 per cent and was eyeing its best week since March. The index tracking the dollar rose 0.1 per cent.

Brent crude lost 0.6 per cent to $72.21 a barrel amid lingering strain in relations between the US and Iran.

Overnight, there were brisker moves for stocks in Asia. China’s CSI 300 fell 2.5 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.2 per cent. Technology stocks supported a rise of 1.1 per cent for Japan’s Topix. Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.6 per cent.


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Markets Briefing is a concise look at global markets, updated throughout the trading day by Financial Times journalists in Hong Kong, New York and London. Feedback? Write in the comments below or send us an email.




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