Trade War, HK Unrest Cast Pall Over US Market

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2019-08-13 HKT 04:32

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  • Fears about the Sino-US trade war and growing unrest in Hong Kong put the brakes on US stock markets. File photo: AP

    Fears about the Sino-US trade war and growing unrest in Hong Kong put the brakes on US stock markets. File photo: AP

Wall Street stocks finished a bruising session sharply lower on Monday as worries about slowing growth and the protracted US-China trade war hit banking shares and the broader market.

Adding to the dim prospects for a US-China trade deal and a steep drop in US Treasury yields was mounting unrest in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters shut the city's airport.

"China is still in the epicentre of the turmoil, with the lingering trade tensions and the escalating protests in Hong Kong both weighing on risk assets globally," Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said in a commentary.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.5 percent to close the session at 25,896.

The broad-based S&P 500 slid 1.2 percent to finish at 2,882, while the Nasdaq Composite Index also shed 1.2 percent to end at 7,863.

Analysts said the latest escalations between Washington and Beijing on trade marred sentiment. Goldman Sachs said last week's manoeuvres suggested the fight "appears to have escalated into a full-blown conflict."

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury, often seen as a barometer of expectations for future economic growth, slumped sharply.

Lower yields translated into a dismal session for large banks, which typically garner lower profits when interest rates fall. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America all lost more than two percent.

Investment giant BlackRock tumbled 2.4 percent after its long-term private capital fund reached an agreement to invest in Sports illustrated owner Authentic Brands Group. The stake is worth about US$875 million, according to financial media. (AFP)