US STOCKS-U.S. stocks retreat on economy and trade jitters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street stepped back from last week’s record highs on Monday, with weak U.S. manufacturing data and fresh trade worries keeping buyers on the sidelines.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

All three major U.S. stock averages began the last month of the year in the red as investors returned from the long holiday weekend.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in November for the fourth consecutive month, stoking concerns that the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history could be losing steam.

“The weaker-than-forecast manufacturing data doesn’t help,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “That trend is likely to continue in the short term.”

“The question is will consumers continue to keep the economy afloat,” Pursche added. “And so far, the preliminary data regarding Black Friday spending is very positive. It’s a big number.”

And Cyber Monday sales were expected to hit a record following $11.6 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would restore tariffs on steel imported from Brazil and Argentina, boosting shares of U.S. steel makers U.S. Steel Corp (X.N) and AK Steel Holding Corp (AKS.N) by 4.2% and 4.7%, respectively.

Still, it was the latest sign that the multi-front trade between the United States and its global trading partners will continue to dominate markets and hinder global economic growth.

The news comes on the heels of recent Wall Street highs, driven to records last week on hopes of an imminent “phase one” trade agreement between the United States and China.

A senior adviser to Trump said on Monday it was still

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