Technology companies led a broad slide for stocks on Wall Street Monday, handing the market a downbeat start to the month after notching strong gains in November.
Industrial, communication services and financial stocks also accounted for a big share of the sell-off. Energy stocks notched the biggest gain, aided by a 1.4% increase in the price of U.S. crude oil. Bond yields rose.
Trade tensions flared with China’s diplomatic retaliation for U.S. support of protesters in Hong Kong, putting investors in a selling mood. The selling accelerated after the U.S. government issued weak manufacturing and construction spending reports.
Wall Street has been hoping that the world’s two biggest economies can make progress toward at least stalling new tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on $160 billion worth of Chinese products, including smartphones and laptops. The latest friction between Washington and Beijing could hamper that progress.
“The market is getting increasingly anxious that it’s possible, perhaps not likely, that the tariffs are imposed on Dec. 15, thus escalating the tariff trade war,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.
The S&P 500 index fell 27.11 points, or 0.9%, to 3,113.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 268.37 points, or 1%, to 27,783.04. The Nasdaq lost 97.48 points, or 1.1%, to 8,567.99. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 16.92 points, or 1%, to 1,607.58.
The stumbling start to December is a departure from the market’s strong performance last month.
Investor optimism that the U.S. and China were nearing a trade deal helped spur the market’s milestone-setting run this fall, lifting it from a summer slide brought on by recession fears and uncertainty over trade.
The negotiations to end the longstanding trade war could face a tougher path this month following a flareup over Hong Kong, however.
China said Monday it will suspend U.S. military ship and aircraft visits to the semi-autonomous territory and sanction several American pro-democracy groups in retaliation against Washington for enacting into law legislation supporting anti-government protests.