STOCKS

US: Wall Street drops after China cancels US farm visits

[BENGALURU] Wall Street dropped on Friday, and also finished the week lower, after a Chinese agriculture delegation cancelled a planned visit to Montana, dampening optimism about US-China trade talks.

The delegates, who had been set to visit US farm states next week, will return to China sooner than originally scheduled, the Montana Farm Bureau said.

Major stock indexes fell into negative territory after the cancellation, which came as trade talks were held in Washington and US President Donald Trump said he wanted a complete trade deal, not just an agreement for China to buy more US agricultural goods. Before the news, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials were in positive territory.

For months, Wall Street has bounced up and down with signs of improvement or deterioration in trade talks, often based on comments or tweets from Mr Trump, a cycle investors have grown accustomed to.

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Market voices on:

“In this case, it’s a bit more concerning because it’s China making the decision, rather than Trump,” said Willie Delwiche, markets strategist at Baird in Milwaukee.

Trade optimism in recent weeks helped elevate the S&P 500 to just shy of its all-time high hit in July.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors fell on Friday. The S&P 500 consumer discretionary index and tariff-sensitive S&P 500 information technology index declined the most, down 1.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent, respectively. The Philadelphia chip index slid 1.8 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.59 per cent to end the week at 26,934.46 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.49 per cent to 2,991.99.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8 per cent to 8,117.67.

For the week, the S&P 500 fell 0.52 per cent, the Dow lost 1.05 per cent and the Nasdaq declined 0.72 per cent.

Netflix tumbled 5.5 per cent after CEO Reed Hastings made comments underscoring growing costs and rising competition from Walt Disney, Apple Inc and other video streaming services.

Adding to Netflix’s woes, Evercore ISI said recent data painted an uncertain picture of the company’s international subscriber growth.

The S&P 500 healthcare index, which has been the worst performing S&P sector this year, clocked the biggest gain among the 11 major sectors, up 0.6 per cent.

Merck & Co gained 1.4 per cent after the company’s drugs Pifeltro and Delstrigo received FDA approval for use in certain adult patients with HIV-1 who are “virally suppressed.”

Roku slumped 19.2 per cent after Pivotal Research started coverage of its shares with a “sell” rating.

Xilinx dropped 6.8 per cent after Chief Financial Officer Lorenzo Flores said he would step down, prompting Bank of America Merrill to downgrade the chipmaker to “neutral.”

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 47 new highs and 51 new lows.

With investors unwinding positions in futures and options contracts before they expire, volume on US exchanges was 9.8 billion shares, compared with a 7.1 billion-share average over the last 20 trading days.

REUTERS

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