Slowing European economies and worries over progress on a U.S.-China trade deal weighed on U.S. stocks Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped about 221 points, about 0.9 percent after the European Commission cut its growth forecast for 2019 and a key Trump administration official cast doubt that a deal with a China could be done soon.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down about 0.9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq retreated about 1.2 percent.
It was the second day of declines for all three indexes after weeks of upward momentum.
The drop across U.S. markets followed European indexes, which were in a broad decline Thursday as reports surfaced of a slowdown in manufacturing across the euro zone.
The Bank of England said 2019 could be the poorest economic growth in years as the British cope with the uncertainty of the country’s exit — also known as Brexit — from the European Union.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney said “the fog of Brexit” was causing tensions in the country’s economy, according to a Reuters report.
Germany reported last month that industrial production declined 1.9 percent month-over-month in November, coming in far below a consensus for growth of 0.3 percent.
Europe was hard-hit, with the German Dax slamming downward 2.7 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index retreated 1.8 percent. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 dropped 1.5 percent, and England’s FTSE 100 was 1.1 percent in the red.
Markets got off to a rocky start Thursday, then declined further after Larry Kudlow, a chief economic adviser to the Trump administration, said in an interview with Fox Business Network that a U.S.-China trade deal was a “pretty sizable distance” away.
“The president has indicated that he’s optimistic with respect to a potential China trade deal,” Kudlow said in an interview with Stuart Varney. “But we’ve got miles to go.”
Shares of global corporations such as Caterpillar and Boeing dropped between 0.9 percent and 1 percent. Those companies have exposure to overseas markets and disruptions in global trade.
Stocks have been on a roll since the start of 2019, posting a strong January on continued good news on the U.S. economy and high hopes for a trade deal with China that could quell worries over a global recession.
“First-quarter earnings are not growing as fast as we had seen last year,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. “That’s causing today’s slide along with the comment from Larry Kudlow that a trade deal with China is still pretty far away.”
The stocks of BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks bucked the trend after the companies announced Thursday that they will merge in a $66 billion all-stock deal that will create the nation’s sixth-largest bank in terms of assets and deposits. The deal is one of the biggest in a decade within the banking industry.
BB&T’s shares rose 4 percent, while SunTrust gained 10.2 percent.