Stocks stum­ble as tech firms fall

Oil plunge con­tin­ues

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

NEW YORK >> 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.

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.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note fell to 3.18 per­cent from 3.23 per­cent.

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