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Wall Street down for third day as trade worries persist

Kitco News

(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.

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 0.63 percent while shares of chip companies, which get a huge chunk of their revenue from China, also slipped. The Philadelphia chip index lost 1.25 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.

Global growth fears resurfaced on Thursday after the European Union cut its economic growth forecast and the Bank of England warned of Britain facing its weakest economic growth in a decade.

Still, the S&P 500 is about 14 percent higher from 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.

“After the strong rally in January, people are just taking a little bit off of that and assessing that we haven’t solved a lot of these issues that are out there in the markets right now,” said Jeremy Bryan, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Arden Hills, Minnesota.

Interest rate-sensitive financials dropped 1.72 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 gain.

At 12:32 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 200.49 points, or 0.80 percent, at 24,969.04, the S&P 500 was down 15.70 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,690.35 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 40.87 points, or 0.56 percent, at 7,247.48.

Nasdaq and Dow were headed for their first weekly loss for the year.

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.

Coty Inc surged 27.05 percent - the most on the S&P 500 - after the cosmetics maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Mattel Inc gained 24.19 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 2.22-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.69-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 30 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D'Silva

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