World stocks poised for weekly loss; dollar firms again

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK — World stocks fell for a third straight day on Friday on pessimism about global economic growth and trade tensions, putting them on track for their first weekly drop this year, while the US dollar was on track for its biggest weekly gain since August.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.60 per cent on the day, and was set to fall for the week following six consecutive weekly increases.

Investors were digesting economic and trade developments from Thursday, when the European Commission sharply cut its forecast for eurozone growth this year and next and President Donald Trump said he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline to achieve a trade deal. 

Thursday’s trade developments “took off the table what the market was probably starting to price in, which was a resolution by March 1”, said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Troy, Michigan. “It just adds to the fact that investors want some of these trade tensions off the front pages, and it doesn’t look like we are going to get that.”

Stocks pared some losses after a White House spokeswoman said US-China trade talks would resume next week in Beijing.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 155.79 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 25,013.74, the S&P 500 lost 9.31 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 2,696.74, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.80 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,273.55.

Adding to the dour mood, analysts now expect first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to decline 0.1 per cent from a year earlier, which would be the first such quarterly profit decline since 2016, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

“The sentiment continues to be investor anxiety about US -China trade relations, the slowing global growth,

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