Stocks sinking as trade tensions increase

Global stock markets sank Monday and oil prices were mixed amid simmering worries about U.S.-China trade tensions.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 300 points or 1.2 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was off 1 percent.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 1.3 percent to 12,414 and London’s FTSE 100 gave up 1.4 percent to 7,575. France’s CAC 40 shed 0.8 percent to 5,343.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration plans to impose curbs on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China. The newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said the initiatives were aimed at preventing Beijing from moving ahead with plans to develop global competitors in technologies including biotech and electric vehicles. That follows President Donald Trump’s threat to hike tariffs on Chinese imports worth up to $450 billion over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. 

Meanwhile, the impact of new tariffs was made clear by Harley-Davidson, which said it would move some production out of the U.S. because of European Union tariffs. The EU has imposed penalties on American motorcycles in retaliation for U.S. duties on steel and aluminum.

“We still think that protectionism alone is unlikely to kill the economic expansion. But it could worsen the slowdown we anticipate next year, and add to the domestic inflationary pressures that are already building,” analysts at Capital Economics said in a note on Friday. 

Overseas, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.1 percent to 2,859.34 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.3 percent to 28,961.39. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.8 percent to 22,338.15 and Seoul’s Kospi was flat at 2,357.88. 

Beijing freed up about $100 billion for additional bank lending in a move financial analysts said might help reassure investors rattled by trade tensions with Washington. The cut in the amount of money banks are required to hold in reserve, the second this year, is one of a series forecasters had expected before the dispute over China’s trade surplus and technology policy erupted. The central bank said the move is aimed at facilitating debt-for-equity swaps meant to help clear away a backlog of nonperforming bank loans owed by state companies.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Categories: Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *