Wall Street down for third day on lingering trade worries

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell for the third straight day on Friday, as skepticism over the United States and China reaching a trade deal before a looming deadline added to concerns over slowing global growth.

A screen displays a chart tracking the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the trading day on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Another round of talks is set for next week in Beijing, but President Donald Trump on Thursday fanned worries when he said he did not plan to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline set for reaching an agreement.

If the two countries fail to reach a deal by then, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports will come into force.

The trade-sensitive industrials shed 0.87 percent while chip stocks, which get a huge chunk of their revenue from China, also slipped. The Philadelphia chip index lost 1.24 percent.

“The two big headwinds we are looking at is weakening data out of the eurozone and some uncertainty around the trade dispute with China creeping back into the markets,” said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade in Jersey City, NJ.

“We’ve had a very strong move since December and a lot of money flowed into the market so it makes sense that you see a little bit of a pause while the market re-calibrates.”

Interest rate-sensitive financials dropped 2 percent, weighing the most on the S&P 500, as U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, while the defensive utilities sector was the only sector to eke out a small gain.

Trade tensions compounded the global growth fears, which resurfaced on Thursday after the European Union cut its economic growth forecasts and the Bank of England warned of Britain facing its weakest economic growth in a decade.

Still, the S&P 500 is 14.3 percent higher from the 20-month lows it hit in December, spurred by a dovish Federal Reserve, hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal and largely positive fourth-quarter earnings.

With earnings season crossing its halfway mark, 71.5 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported beat profit estimates, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

But concerns remain about slowing earnings growth. Analysts now expect current-quarter profit to dip 0.1 percent from estimates of a 5.3 percent growth at the start of the year.

At 11:17 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 247.36 points, or 0.98 percent, at 24,922.17. The S&P 500 was down 19.08 points, or 0.71 percent, at 2,686.97 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 40.69 points, or 0.56 percent, at 7,247.67.

Coty Inc surged 26.20 percent – the most on the S&P 500 – after the cosmetics maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

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Mattel Inc gained 22.25 percent after the toymaker posted a surprise quarterly profit as it benefited from a makeover of its iconic Barbie doll.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.45-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.51-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 23 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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