Wall Street set to open lower as trade war stokes fears of recession

A commuter walks on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange January 10, 2019. — Reuters pic
A commuter walks on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange January 10, 2019. — Reuters pic

AUGUST 12 — Wall Street was set to open lower today, as investors shunned risky bets on fears that a drawn-out trade war between the United States and China could force the global economy into recession.

The three main indexes ended marginally lower last week, wrapping up five days of high volume trading marked by wild swings, as investors feared that a slide in China’s yuan would expand the scope of the trade war to include currencies.

President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not ready to make a deal with China, pouring cold water on any hopes that the dispute would end soon. Trump’s pledge to tax the remaining US$300 billion worth of Chinese imports goes into effect on Sept 1.

“It appears to me that the US and China are pulling further apart on trying to reach an agreement,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

“If he (Trump) postpones that date (Sept. 1), we may get a short period of calm but as long as that issue of new tariffs is floating around out there, pending at some point, I think this volatility is going to remain.”

Over the weekend, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said fears of the US-China trade war leading to a recession were growing and that it no longer expected a trade deal before the 2020 US presidential election.

Highlighting the fallout of the trade dispute on global growth, a survey by Germany’s Ifo economic institute today showed the economic outlook for third quarter has deteriorated worldwide.

Trade-related worries have been a major drag on the benchmark S&P 500, which has slipped 3.7 per cent from its all-time high hit in July.

At 8.27am ET, Dow e-minis were down 144 points, or 0.55 per cent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 16.25 points, or 0.56 per cent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 47.25 points, or 0.62 per cent.

Investors seeking safety in perceived safe havens bolstered the Japanese yen, gold prices and US government bond prices.

Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley fell nearly 1.2 per cent each in premarket trading, as lower bond yields hit shares of interest-rate sensitive lenders.

The so-called FAANG group – Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple, Netflix Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc – which have led the market rally this year, slipped between 0.7 per cent and 1 per cent. — Reuters

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