By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global equities stumbled on Monday, as losses in Europe and Asia extended to Wall Street on new signs the U.S.-China trade spat was impacting world economic growth, but rebounded from an initial drop as Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shares recovered.
Further denting sentiment was confusion stemming from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to abruptly delay a vote on her Brexit deal on Monday, which weighed heavily on European shares.
“The litany of concerns that investors have to price into the market is long and that litany is dense with a great deal of geopolitical concerns. It is not just Brexit – which is huge – it is Europe generally speaking,” said Peter Kenny, founder of Kenny’s Commentary LLC and Strategic Board Solutions LLC in New York.
Sluggish data from the world’s largest economies including the United States, China, Japan and Germany have disappointed investors in recent days, and scepticism has grown that Washington and Beijing will be able to reach a trade deal before a 90-day window expires.
China reported far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports, showing slower global and domestic demand and raising the possibility authorities will take more measures to keep the country’s growth rate from slipping too much.
On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P were well off session lows while the Nasdaq moved into positive territory as Apple recovered from an initial drop. Shares had slumped more than 3 percent as chip supplier Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of several iPhone models in China due to patent violations.
“Tech has been the leading edge on the trade lower. Any stability there is going to really help the overall market – massively,” said Kenny.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 133.37 points, or 0.55 percent, to 24,255.58, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 13.23 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,619.85 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 8.39 points, or 0.12 percent, to 6,977.64.
Sterling (GBP=) was last trading at $1.2547, down 1.41 percent on the day. The dollar index (.DXY) rose 0.73 percent.
MSCI’s all-country index <.MIWD00000PUS> was on pace for its fifth straight decline and is down nearly 6 percent over that period, its worst five-day stretch since February. The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) lost 1.87 percent and MSCI’s gauge shed 1.20 percent.
Last week’s arrest of the chief financial officer of Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] for extradition to the United States was seen as putting up another hurdle to the resolution of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Sunday there was a “hard deadline” to the 90-day trade ceasefire and without a successful end to talks by March 1, Washington would impose new tariffs on Chinese goods.
In another sign of a global slowdown, Japan posted the worst contraction in over four years in the third quarter as uncertainty over global demand and trade saw companies slashing capital spending.
The signs of weakening have taken a heavy toll on oil prices, which have slumped around 30 percent since early October. U.S. crude (CLcv1) fell 2.98 percent to $51.04 per barrel and Brent (LCOcv1) was last at $60.01, down 2.69 percent on the day.
(Additional reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Lisa Shumaker)