Stocks skid as tech com­pa­nies fall and oil plunge con­tin­ues

Centre Daily Times - - Weather / Business - BY MAR­LEY JAY


U.S. stocks fell Fri­day as a com­bi­na­tion of weak eco­nomic data from China and dis­ap­point­ing earn­ings hurt tech­nol­ogy and in­ter­net com­pa­nies. Crude oil prices fell for the 10th day in a row.

Auto sales in China fell in Oc­to­ber for the fourth month in a row and are down 13 per­cent from a year ago, the lat­est sign its econ­omy is un­der pres­sure. Con­cerns about China’s econ­omy and its trade dis­pute with the U.S. con­trib­uted to the global stock mar­ket skid in Oc­to­ber. The stocks that fared the worst dur­ing that time in­cluded tech and in­ter­net com­pa­nies and re­tail­ers, which all took sharp losses Fri­day.

“China has played such a crit­i­cal role in driv­ing global growth,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global mar­ket strate­gist for In­vesco. “(In­vestors) are hav­ing con­cerns that th­ese tar­iff wars are essen­tially go­ing to kick China when it’s down.”

U.S. crude oil slipped 0.8 per­cent to ex­tend its los­ing streak. It’s fallen for five weeks in a row and tum­bled 21 per­cent since Oct. 3. En­ergy com­pa­nies have suf­fered steep losses dur­ing that time.

Weak fore­casts from com­pa­nies in­clud­ing video game com­pany Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard and chip­maker Sky­works So­lu­tions also con­trib­uted to Fri­day’s de­cline.

The S&P 500 in­dex dropped 25.82 points, or 0.9 per­cent, to 2,781.01. The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age fell 201.92 points, or 0.8 per­cent, to 25,989.30.

The Nas­daq com­pos­ite sank 123.98 points, or 1.6 per­cent, to 7,406.90. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller com­pa­nies gave up 28.72 points, or 1.8 per­cent, to 1,549.49.

The La­bor De­part­ment said whole­sale prices in the U.S. jumped, and Hooper said that could be linked to the tar­iff dis­pute as well. Whole­sale prices rose by the most in six years in Oc­to­ber as gas, food, and chem­i­cal prices in­creased. The La­bor De­part­ment’s whole­sale price in­dex has climbed 2.9 per­cent over the last year.

Video game maker Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard tum­bled af­ter its fore­cast for the hol­i­day sea­son fell short of an­a­lysts’ pro­jec­tions. The stock fell 12.4 per­cent to $55.01, and Elec­tronic Arts lost 5.3 per­cent to $88.89.

Ma­jor tech­nol­ogy and in­ter­net com­pa­nies also turned lower. Ap­ple fell 1.9 per­cent to $204.47 and Face­book shed 2 per­cent to $144.96. Ama­zon lost 2.4 per­cent to $1,712.43.

Bench­mark U.S. crude fell to $60.19 a bar­rel in New York, its low­est in al­most eight months. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, has fared al­most as badly as U.S. crude, and it de­clined 0.7 per­cent to $70.20 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

West Coast util­ity com­pa­nies tum­bled as wild­fires wors­ened in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, with tens of thou­sands of peo­ple forced to flee in Los An­ge­les and Ven­tura coun­ties. PG&E plunged 16.5 per­cent to $39.92 and Edi­son In­ter­na­tional skid­ded 12.1 per­cent to $61.

Gen­eral Elec­tric sank 5.7 per­cent to $8.58 af­ter a JPMor­gan Chase an­a­lyst cut his price tar­get on the stock to $6 a share from $10. Stephen Tusa said six of GE’s eight di­vi­sions might be un­prof­itable in 2020.

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