Stocks drop on N. Korea fears, global tariff threats

U.S. stocks skidded Thursday after President Donald Trump said he is canceling a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Energy companies fell along with oil prices as investors responded to reports the nations of OPEC may start producing more oil. Car companies including Fiat Chrysler and Toyota also dropped as the Trump administration considered tariffs on imported cars and car parts, a move the governments of China, Japan and the European Union condemned.

The S&P 500 index dropped 18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,714 as of 11:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 219 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,667. The Nasdaq composite shed 47 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,378. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,620.

Technology companies took some of the worst losses. Microsoft fell 1.7 percent to $97 and Intel gave up 1.7 percent to $54.23. Video game maker Electronic Arts slid 2.7 percent to $129.95 and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, skidded 1.1 percent to $1,073.74.

North Korea summit

Stocks turned lower after the White House announced that the planned meeting between Trump and Kim was off. An open letter from Trump said he was canceling the June 12 summit because of “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement by a North Korean official. The two sides agreed in March after Trump and Kim traded public insults and threats for months.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.96 percent from 2.99 percent, and banks traded lower. Metals prices also increased. Gold gained 1.2 percent to $1,304.80 an ounce and silver jumped 1.4 percent to $16.64 an ounce.

Auto tariffs — the braking news

The Trump administration could place tariffs on imported vehicles and automotive parts. It plans to conduct an investigation into those imports on national security grounds. The U.S. will decide by June 1 whether to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Europe on the same grounds. A European Union official said the proposal would violate World Trade Organization rules and Japan and China also criticized the proposal.

Fiat Chrysler lost 2.2 percent to $21.97 and Tata Motors fell 5.6 percent to $21.14. Toyota shares fell 1.8 percent to $132.42. U.S. rivals Ford rose 1.3 percent to $11.59 and General Motors added 0.9 percent to $38.19.

Oil moves

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 1 percent to $71.14 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.9 percent to $79.09 a barrel in London.

Various news outlets reported that the nations of the OPEC cartel might start producing more oil in response to reduced exports from Venezuela and Iran. Greater supplies would send prices lower. Energy companies have slipped in recent days as investors anticipated that possibility. On Thursday Exxon Mobil lost 2.3 percent to $82.06 and Chevron dipped 1.9 percent to $126.30.

OPEC and a group of other major oil producers cut production last year in response to a steep drop in oil prices. U.S. crude had fallen from more than $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to as little as $26 a barrel in early 2016. On Monday U.S. crude peaked at $72.24 a barrel, its highest price since late 2014.

Deutsche Bank layoffs 

Germany’s struggling Deutsche Bank said it is cutting more than 7,000 jobs as it reshapes its stock trading operation and refocuses its global investment banking business on its European base. The bank’s stock fell 5.2 percent to $12.21.

Earnings: Best Buy, McKesson, Hormel, Williams-Sonama

Best Buy had a stronger first quarter than analysts expected, but Wall Street was disappointed with the retailer’s profit forecasts for the current quarter and for the rest of the year. The stock lost 7 percent to $70.64. Prescription drug distributor McKesson said difficult market conditions in Europe and Canada hurt its business in its latest quarter and it declined 2.4 percent to $143.26.

Spam maker Hormel posted a weaker-than-expected profit as it dealt with higher costs for freight and commodities. The stock shed 3.1 percent to $34.70.

Home furnishings company Williams-Sonoma surged after raising its annual forecasts following a strong first quarter. It gained 13 percent to $55.56.

Currencies and overseas marts

The dollar fell to 109.12 yen from 110.07 yen. The euro rose to $1.1728 from $1.1698.

Germany’s DAX lost 0.6 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain fell 0.4 percent. The CAC 40 in France shed 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.1 percent and the Kospi in South Korea slipped 0.2 percent.

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