World stock markets sink as Trump stokes fears of trade war

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was down 178.61 points, or 2.43 percent, to 7,166.68.


The Dow Jones industrial average lost 424.69 points, or 1.8%, to 23,533.20. The S&P 500 fell 68 points, or 2.52 percent, closing at 2,644.

The S&P 500 index dropped 55.43 points, or 2.1%, to 2,588.26. At the epicenter this time is US President Donald Trump, with his China tariffs driving Boeing Co. down more than 5 per cent in a single session on Thursday and losses rippling across industries from technology to banks. The 10-year benchmark yield slipped 1 basis point to 0.025 percent, the lowest since November 2017.

While outpacing the S&P 500, the price tag is higher – the average expense ratio is more than 1%.

Selling intensified into the close with the Dow losing more than 250 points in the final hour of trading.

Facebook, with more than 2 billion monthly active users, has seen 10 percent of its market capitalization, about $50 billion, vaporized this week on news that its vast trove of personal data had been misused by Cambridge Analytica, a data mining and political communications firm that was used by the Trump presidential campaign.

The Russell 2000 is down 25.43 points, or 1.7 percent. Investors have become anxious about rising trade tensions after the administration announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year.

“A global trade war, whether it’s real or perceived, is what’s weighing on the market”, Ian Winer, head of equities at Wedbush Securities”, told CNN Money.

Investors anxious that if the dispute escalated, China will counterpunch with restrictions of its own, hurting American exports of airplanes, construction equipment and other goods. Facebook, one of the most widely held stocks, lost another 2.7% on Thursday.

After President Donald Trump announced tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese goods, Beijing disclosed plans for tariffs on up to $3 billion of USA imports, though it also urged the United States to “pull back from the brink”.

Construction equipment maker Caterpillar fell $8.90, or 5.7 percent, to $146.90, for its worst loss since mid-2016. The FTSE 100 in Britain dipped 0.4 per cent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index plunged 4.5 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi tumbled 3.2 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.5 per cent. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

The jitters over trade tensions sent investors toward traditional “safe havens” like the Japanese yen, which strengthened against the US dollar.

The news raised concern that USA lawmakers could draw up regulation on data usage for Facebook and other major tech companies. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 92 cents to $69.30 a barrel in London.

Nike soared 3.8 percent after reporting a strong quarter.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday.


Stocks were also hit when John Dowd resigned as Trump’s lead attorney countering Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian Federation probe as the inquiry into possible collusion in the 2016 election intensifies. The Fed expects to raise rates three times this year, although some investors think a fourth increase is possible.

Chinese employees making toys for export at a factory in Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu province.
China's factory inflation slowed to a 13-month low in December 2017 official data showed on January 10 a sign of continued fragility in the world's