Global Stocks Plunge As Investors Fret Over Looming US-China Trade War

A pedestrian looks at a stock indicator showing numbers of NASDAQ in Tokyo on April 3, 2018. Tokyo stocks closed lower on April 3, with investor sentiment hit by plunges on Wall Street driven by US-China trade war f... A pedestrian looks at a stock indicator showing numbers of NASDAQ in Tokyo on April 3, 2018. Tokyo stocks closed lower on April 3, with investor sentiment hit by plunges on Wall Street driven by US-China trade war fears. / AFP PHOTO / Kazuhiro NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets fell for a second day Tuesday as investors continued to fret over a looming trade war between the U.S. and China and mounting public scrutiny of technology companies.

Stocks have been trending lower for weeks largely because of a series of tariffs announced by U.S. President Donald Trump and the Facebook data privacy scandal, which has raised the prospect of tighter regulation for social media and other tech stocks.

In the last week, Trump has also tweeted repeatedly about his new favorite foe, Amazon, whose owner also owns The Washington Post, which has been critical of the Trump administration.

Trump has approved possible higher U.S. duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. Those tariffs come on top of previous proposals to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

In response, China announced it is raising tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. goods including pork, apples and steel pipe, increasing the risk of a broader conflict that might depress global trade.

“The mood remains decidedly bearish, and there is certainly no shortage of reasons to be fearful,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. “It’s times like this when investors face a choice — whether to sit and await developments or plunge back in.”

That was evident in the performance of stocks on Tuesday.

Returning from the long Easter holiday weekend, Europe’s stock markets tracked others lower, though the scale of the losses were diminished by expectations of a rebound on Wall Street later.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.8 percent to 11,999 while London’s FTSE 100 declined 0.2 percent to 7,037. France’s CAC 40 was 0.5 percent lower at 5,140.

Wall Street was poised for some solid gains at the open Tuesday with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.5 percent. On Monday, the S&P posted its worst start to a quarter since October 2011 and saw the index fall below its 200-day moving average for the first time in almost 2 years.

U.S. technology companies are in the spotlight, notably Amazon, which posted hefty losses of around 5 percent Monday after Trump again voiced his concerns about the company on Twitter.

The sector was already in the gaze of investors after Facebook’s data scandal last month that has raised the prospect of heightened regulation. Netflix, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet have all seen their share prices decline.

“Pressure on the sector doesn’t appear to be going away in the near-term which will continue to act as a drag on indices,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Earlier in Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8 percent to 3,163.63 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.4 percent to 21,292.29. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.1 percent to 5,751.90. Elsewhere, Seoul’s Kospi ended down 27 points at 2,442.43. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng bucked the trend, ending up 0.2 percent at 30,137.49.

Elsewhere, the euro was flat at $1.23 while the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 106.23 yen. In the oil markets, a barrel of U.S. crude gained 22 cents to $63.23 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Bren crude, used to price international oils, rose 29 cents to $67.93 in London.

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Notable Replies

  1. Hmmmmm…how low does it have to go before he really starts to “own” it?

  2. I’ve got a vague, unprovable sense that if he triggers a serious downturn and the Chinese bring the pain in a localized way like this, and his general support crashes through the high-thirties floor it’s been stuck on, the GOP could turn on him in a very swift and brutal way. A long, slow rise in discontent and grumbling and then whammo. They know what he is and he won’t get much mercy if they have to take steps.

  3. I think Democrats should embrace these tariffs against China.

    Tariffs even the playing field for American workers in manufacturing and technology. There are going to be impacts on the American consumer and corporations but without the American worker, you don’t have America.

  4. PP’s not doing any of this out of a sense of making America great again. He’s the bully in the WH who’s going to assure that the stuff we buy from China, think Bed Bath & Beyond, et al, is going to cost a lot more.

    Industry giants like General Electric and Goldman Sachs, as well as agricultural companies, have lodged objections with the White House, saying that tariffs on both sides of the Pacific and limitations on investments will cut off American companies from the world’s most lucrative and rapidly growing market.

    China imposed tariffs on Monday on more than 100 American products, including pork, fruit, recycled aluminum and steel pipes. Fears of an incipient trade war between the world’s two largest economies sent the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index tumbling 2.23 percent and pushed markets into correction territory. Technology stocks bore the brunt of the slump, as a recent spate of bad news about tech companies like Facebook, Tesla and Amazon spooked investors. Asian and European markets fell more modestly in early Tuesday trading.

  5. Avatar for tsp tsp says:

    If crude gets much higher, that puts financial pressures on manufacturers and shippers across the globe to produce and ship their products. Higher crude prices is a global tariff in and of itself. That puts further pressures on oil exploration, fracking, tar sands, pipelines…No one wins. This administration is purely about elevating Dotard T rump’s ego as an adult toddler. He is determined to destroy America.

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