Stocks dropped worldwide on Monday and the U.S. markets had their worst day in June on reports that President Trump will ramp up his threats of an emerging trade war with China.
The Dow Jones industrial average slid more than 475 points, or 2 percent, in afternoon trading following weekend reports that the Trump administration is planning to announce a prohibition against Chinese companies investing in U.S. technology businesses.
Monday was the Dow’s ninth decline in the last 10 sessions and is down 1.88 percent year-to-date as the 30-stock blue chip benchmark lags the S&P 500 for the year. The Dow is down 8.2 percent from its Jan. 26 high. A 10-percent decline is considered a correction.
“It’s just more concerns that the trade war is heating up,” said Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research. “There was some hope that the rhetoric would remain heated rhetoric. But Trump is making it quite clear that he is intent on winning a trade war.”
McDonald’s, Intel and the big industrial companies, Boeing, Caterpillar and DowDuPont, were heavy drags on the Dow.
The S&P 500 declined 2 percent and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite retreated more than 2.5 percent — around 200 points — in its biggest decline since April. Technology, energy and consumer staples were the biggest declining sectors in the S&P. Utilities and consumer discretionary shares were the only S&P sectors having upside.
European and Asian markets told the same story, reflecting investors’ concern that the back-and-forth between the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest economies, will erode economic growth across the planet.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.8 percent, the Shanghai composite was down more than 1 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 1.29 percent. Europe followed suit, with all its major indexes dropping 2 percent or close to it. The London FTSE 100 fell more than 2 percent, and the French CAC 40 and Stoxx 600 were close behind.
The June distress has been centered on President Trump’s determination to take on the Chinese and what he and many others have called their unfair trade practices, especially the theft of U.S. technology.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin went on Twitter and called the reports of forthcoming restrictions against China in Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal “fake news.”
“The leaker either doesn’t exist or know the subject very well. Statement will be out not specific to China, but to all countries that are trying to steal our technology,” Mnuchin said in his tweet.