Wall Street Set to Open Lower After China Data, Citi Results – New York Times

(Reuters) – Technology shares pulled Wall Street lower on Monday, after an unexpected drop in China’s exports in December reignited worries of a slowdown in global economic growth.

The China trade data reinforced concerns that U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods were taking a toll on the world’s second-largest economy, prompting companies such as Apple Inc to issue profit warning.

Chipmakers, which get a sizable portion of their revenue from China, took a hit, with the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index slipping 1.60 percent. Trade-sensitive Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc fell more than 1 percent.

Citigroup Inc shares reversed course to rise 3 percent despite reporting lower-than-expected revenue, after Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said the slowdown in China was not particularly disruptive to its global operations and that the bank saw improvements in trading conditions in the first few days of the quarter. [vnL1N1ZE0G1]

“Since banks stocks have been at the epicenter of what has been a very tough 2018, investors are going to focus on any encouraging trends or reassuring commentary,” said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at INTL FCStone in New York.

Citigroup kicked off fourth-quarter earnings season for large U.S. banks, with JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co set to report earnings on Tuesday.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the technology sector’s 0.87 percent fall being the biggest drag on the S&P 500. The S&P financial sector was the only gainer, lifting U.S. stocks off their early lows.

A recent rally in stocks, fueled by U.S.-China trade optimism and hopes of a slow pace of interest rate hikes, has driven a 10 percent gain in the S&P 500 from its Christmas Eve low. The benchmark index is about 12 percent away from its Sept. 20 record close.

“Obviously the biggest concern is the China trade data and people

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