Dow falls 650 points as trade concerns re-emerge

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Friday as a lack of concrete progress toward reducing U.S-China trade tensions bolstered risk-off sentiment and overshadowed the November employment report.

Benchmarks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.24%  fell 558.72 points, or 2.2%, to close at 24,388.95, the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.33% retreated 62.87 points, or 2.3%, to 2,633.08, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% slumped 219.01 points, or 3%, to finish at 6,969.25.

Ten of 11 sectors in the S&P 500 lost ground Friday, with only utilities advancing, while all 30 components of the Dow traded lower.

Check out: A death cross for the S&P 500 highlights a stock market in tatters

For the week, the Dow fell 4.5%, the S&P 500 retreated 4.6%, and Nasdaq tumbled 4.9%. It was the biggest weekly percentage decline for all three benchmarks since March, while also marking the worst start to a December since 2008, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

The slump pushed the S&P 500 and Dow back into negative territory for 2018, while the Nasdaq is clinging to a 1% year-to-date gain.

Market drivers

Concerns over global trade continue to weigh on investor sentiment, even after a Friday morning report from the Labor Department that showed healthy November job gains for the U.S. economy and the fastest pace of wage growth in nearly 10 years.

Despite efforts by the Trump administration and its Chinese counterparts to paint an optimistic picture of ongoing negotiations aimed at reducing trade tensions, investors are demanding more evidence that the two sides will avoid the imposition of new and expanded tariffs in 2019, market participants say. Once again, a pair of administration officials gave opposing views about those negotiations in separate television appearances Friday.

The effect of trade concerns on the markets can be observed

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