August 23, 2018 / 12:05 PM / 2 years ago

Wall St. weighed by new round of U.S.-China tariffs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street’s major indexes fell on Thursday as trade-sensitive stocks were hit by a fresh round of tariffs in the trade dispute between the United States and China.

Despite ongoing talks, the two countries imposed tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other’s goods.

Shares of industrial giants Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) and Boeing Co (BA.N), which have been bellwethers of trade sentiment, were among the biggest drags on the Dow. Caterpillar shares fell 2.0 percent, and Boeing shares fell 0.7 percent.

In the S&P 500, the technology sector .SPLRCT was the sole gainer, rising 0.2 percent. But it pared gains late in the session, sending the tech-heavy Nasdaq into negative territory along with the S&P and the Dow.

“It’s tough to say how far this will go,” Brendan Erne, director of portfolio implementation at Personal Capital in San Francisco, said of the U.S.-China trade dispute. “It could be a fairly long and winding road, but at least it’s encouraging that both sides are talking now.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 76.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,656.98, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.84 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,856.98 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 10.64 points, or 0.13 percent, to 7,878.46.

The energy index .SPNY fell 0.5 percent and the materials index .SPLRCM fell 0.7 percent, the biggest percentage drops among the S&P’s major sectors, as prices of crude oil and metals fell due to trade war worries.

The potential political fallout from the legal woes of two former advisers to U.S. President Donald Trump also weighed on investor sentiment.

Data from the U.S. Labor Department indicated the labor market was holding firm despite trade tensions as jobless claims fell for the third straight week.

Investors said they were keeping a close eye on the meeting of U.S. central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will speak on Friday. His speech will be watched for clues on monetary policy after minutes from the most recent meeting indicated that the Fed would raise interest rates soon.

Shares of Hormel Foods Corp (HRL.N) fell after the meat producer attributed its underwhelming quarterly results to Chinese tariffs, which Hormel said have led to domestic oversupply and lower prices. Hormel shares ended the session down 3.1 percent.

Shares of Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands Inc (LB.N) plunged 11.4 percent to reach their lowest level since March 2011 after the retailer cut its full-year profit forecast.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.93-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.42-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 137 new highs and 32 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 5.57 billion shares, compared with the 6.35 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Reporting by April Joyner; additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler

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