US stocks slip after China says exports fell in December

Wall Street stocks fell in early trading Monday following weak Chinese trade data that underscored concerns about a slowing economy and as earnings season kicked off.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 23,857.95, down 0.6 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.7 percent to 2,578.80, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.0 percent to 6,903.26.

Chinese trade data underscored worries about a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy. The country’s exports fell 4.4 percent in December from a year earlier, while imports dropped 7.6 percent, reflecting sluggish demand at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, Citigroup posted mixed results, with better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, in part due to lower expenses, but revenues that lagged expectations. One factor was a drop in Treasury trading amid heavy market volatility.

Citigroup shares were up 0.5 percent, while other large banks that report later in the week were mixed.

US stocks have risen most of January as Federal Reserve officials have signaled a cautious approach to interest rate increases and as US-China trade talks have boosted a chance of a deal.

Those factors have offset worries about slowing global growth and a US government shutdown that has dragged into a fourth week.

Among individual companies, utility PG&E shares plunged nearly 50 percent after announcing that it will file for bankruptcy to reorganize due to massive potential liability connected to California wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

The company also said Chief Executive Geisha Williams had stepped down and General Counsel John Simon had been tapped as interim chief while a search is launched for a replacement.

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