US stocks close lower amid global trade prospects

New York, May 18 (IANS) US stocks closed lower as investors weigh major economic data against global trade prospects.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday decreased 98.68 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 25,764.00. The S&P 500 fell 16.79 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 2,859.53, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 81.76 points, or 1.04 per cent, to 7,816.28.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index in May climbed to a reading of 102.4, a 15-year high, from April’s reading of 97.2. This is higher than economists’ estimates.

“Consumers viewed prospects for the overall economy much more favorably, with the economic outlook for the near and longer term reaching their highest levels since 2004,” according to the report.

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However, the gains were mostly recorded before China-U.S. trade talks showed more uncertainties.

The US suddenly announced a decision on May 10 to increase additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

The unexpected move prompted China to adopt similar policies by raising the rate of additional tariffs imposed on some of the imported US products from June 1.

The White House on Wednesday issued an executive order to ban foreign-made telecommunications equipment which Washington deemed as “posing an unacceptable risk”.

Following the news, stock prices of semiconductor and telecommunications equipment companies slid. Qualcomm, Micron Technology, and Qorvo declined 1.58 per cent, 3.35 per cent, and 6.14 per cent respectively on Friday.

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