Escalating US-China Trade War Sends Stocks Plunging

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New York, NY, United States (VoA) – The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 500 points Monday as investors sought shelter from an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.

The Dow and S&P 500 index each fell more than 2% as investors sold trade-sensitive shares in a broad sell-off that extended the market’s slide into a second week.

Technology stocks led the way lower, with digital storage companies and chipmakers among the big decliners. Heavy equipment makers Deere and Caterpillar drove losses in the industrial sector.

The world’s largest economies had seemed on track to resolve the ongoing trade dispute that has raised prices for consumers and pinched corporate profit margins. Investor confidence that the two sides were close to a resolution had helped push the market to its best yearly start in decades.

Those hopes are now being dashed and replaced by concerns that the trade war could crimp what is otherwise a mostly healthy economy. Analysts have warned that failed trade talks and the deterioration in relations will put a dent in the U.S. and China’s economic prospects.

“The larger issue with the tariffs isn’t the specific amounts of tariffs at any given time, but the uncertainty that’s surrounding these tariffs and the `what’s-next?’ of an escalating trade war,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “That weighs on the global economy and could then weigh on the U.S. economy.”

The Dow dove 544 points, or 2.1%, to 25,398 as of 3:08 p.m. Eastern Time. Earlier, it was down 719 points. Boeing and Caterpillar fell the most in the Dow. Both companies get a significant amount of revenue from China and stand to lose heavily if the trade war drags on. Boeing slid 4.2% and Caterpillar was 4.4% lower.

The broader S&P 500 index fell 2.1%. The benchmark index is coming off its worst week since January, though it’s still up sharply for the year. The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 2.9%, on track for its biggest daily loss of the year.

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