U.S. equities plunged Thursday — putting the main stock index in negative territory for the year — after Canadian authorities arrested the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei at the request of U.S. authorities.
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The arrest Wednesday in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the United States, raises the stakes for, and possibly threatens, the recently restarted U.S.-China trade talks.
The specific charge or charges against the 46-year-old daughter of Huawei’s founder were not disclosed, but U.S. officials have been investigating the company for possibly violating American trade sanctions against Iran.
Investors were rattled. The intraday decline in the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average — down more than 700 points in late-morning trading — put the widely watched index into negative territory for 2018. The S&P 500 also plunged into negative territory for the year. This would leave only the Nasdaq Composite in the plus column for 2018.
With the exception of Netflix the big-cap consumer and tech titans were falling for a second day, but the selling was nowhere near as intense as in the previous session.
Meanwhile, oil prices extended their losses despite OPEC members agreeing Thursday to cut oil output — although it’s unclear by how much. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude oil, fell nearly 3 percent to $51.41 per barrel on Thursday.
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Fears of a crude oil supply glut and slowing global growth have sent prices plunging in recent weeks. U.S. crude entered a bear market one month ago and is currently down 33 percent from its 4-year high of $76.41 per barrel on Oct. 3.
Global stocks also fell. Asian stocks closed down. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index