Dow falls around 500 points at open as arrest of Huawei exec reignites trade worries

U.S. stocks were down sharply at the start of trade Thursday, after the arrest of a Huawei executive reignited trade worries, and as continued weakness in oil markets underscored concerns over global growth ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna Thursday.

How are the benchmarks trading?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.38%  fell 511 points, or 2%, at 24,518, while the S&P 500 Index SPX, -2.22%  was down 55.22 points to 2,644, a loss of 2.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.81%  tumbled 143 points, or 2%, at 7,019.

U.S. stock markets were closed Wednesday to mark a national day of mourning after the Friday death of former President George H.W. Bush, and on Tuesday trade concerns helped push all three major indexes more than 3% lower on the day.

Read: The worst-performing stocks on ‘Tariff Man’ Tuesday

What’s driving the market?

Investors have been rattled by news that the Canadian authorities had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, at the request of U.S. authorities for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran. The arrest, which was made on Dec. 1, comes as the U.S. has taken several steps to restrict the Chinese technology giant, trying to persuade international allies to do the same.

When stock-index futures reopened Thursday, the drop was so severe on S&P 500 futures that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange triggered circuit breakers to avoid worse losses. Those futures spiked down to 2,659, a drop of 1.9% before the CME stopped trading briefly to try to calm the market, said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone.

FactSet S&P 500 futures tumble sharply at Thursday’s reopen

China authorities reacted furiously, with the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Canada demanding the release of the Huawei executive. “At the request of the U.S. side,

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