U.S. stocks continued their slide Wednesday and posted the worst start to a quarter since 2008, with data showing slower job creation adding to concerns about a weakening manufacturing sector as President’s Trump’s trade policies take their toll.
Automobile manufacturers stocks fell after quarterly sales reports from Ford and General Motors added to concern over profit margins in the industry. All 11 S&P 500 sectors were down with industries sensitive to economic growth dropping most. The last time all 11 sectors fell for two straight days was December 24, 2018.
What did major stock indexes do?
Late afternoon the Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 494.42 points, or 1.86%, to 26,078 while the S&P 500 index
lost 52.64 points or 1.79% to 2,887.61. The Nasdaq
fell 123.44 points, or 1.56%, to 7,785.25.
The Dow and S&P 500 are now both below their 50-day moving averages.
On Tuesday, the Dow
lost 344 points, or 1.3%, to finish 26,573.04, the S&P 500
fell 37 points, or 1.2%, to end at 2,940.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index
retreated 91 points, or 1.1%, to close at 7,908.68. The small-capitalization Russell 2000 index
saw a steeper drop, losing 1.9% to 1,493.43.
What’s driving the stock market?
A private-sector employment report from Automatic Data Processing showed that a modest 135,000 jobs were created in September, and the average monthly job growth for the past three months also fell to 145,000 from 214,000 for the same time period last year.
The ADP payrolls report was published ahead of the more closely followed U.S. Labor Department’s nonfarm-payroll report due on Friday.
The Alanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast for U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter has fallen 1.8%.
Market participants are hoping the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again when it meets in October, but the Fed may be reluctant to lower rates again after two cuts so far this year.
New York Fed President John Williams on Wednesday pushed back on market fears of a looming recession, saying that the baseline economic forecast remains “a positive one.”
“Right now, the outlook is actually very favorable,” Williams said during a talk at the University of California, San Diego. He said GDP growth is around 2% rate, with a “very strong” labor market and inflation near a 2% rate.
In international trade news on Wednesday, the U.S. won World Trade Organization backing for tariffs on EU goods in an Airbus case over what the Trump administration said was illegal subsidies granted to Airbus. The Trump administration will put tariffs on $7.5 billion of imports from the EU as a result, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and China are due to resume talks next week on resolving the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
“Supportive central banks, bearish sentiment and attractive yield opportunities are supportive of stocks,” Bank of America Securities said in a note. But “trade tensions, global growth concerns, geopolitical risks plus signs of (profit) margin compression and further downward risk to (earnings) estimates are likely to limit upside going forward,” the bank said.
Which stocks are in focus?
fell after the automaker reported third-quarter vehicle sales fell 4.9% from a year ago, while General Motors
also fell after reporting poor quarterly sales.
was lower after a report said an engineer filed an internal ethics complaint over the company’s decision to reject a safety system for the 737 Max on cost grounds that he believed could have reduced risks tied to two fatal crashes.
Discount-broker stocks continued to fall after the Tuesday announcement by Charles Schwab Corp.
that it would cut most trading commissions to zero. TD Ameritrade Holdings Corp.
Shares of pharmaceutical company Savara Inc.
tumbled 47% in morning trading after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had found its application for a new medication insufficient.
Johnson & Johnson
shares rose after the company cut a deal to avoid an upcoming opioid litigation trial.
How did other markets trade?
U.S. Treasury yields fell sharply Wednesday after growing worries about the health of the American economy drew investors into government bonds at the expense of stocks. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note
was down about 6 basis points to 1.59% on Wednesday.
Gold prices settled back above the key $1,500 mark on Wednesday, after private-sector employment showed that the pace of hiring in the U.S. is slowing, reviving worries about a recession in the U.S. economy and spurring the purchase of assets perceived as havens. Gold for December delivery
jumped $18.90, or 1.3%, to reach $1,507.90 an ounce, after rising 1.1% on Tuesday.
Oil futures declined Wednesday, with U.S. prices set for their lowest finish in almost two months, as downbeat economic data weighed on prospects for energy demand, and domestic crude stockpiles registered a third straight weekly climb. West Texas Intermediate crude-oil for November delivery
was down 96 cents, about 1.8%, to $52.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In Asia overnight Wednesday, Chinese equity benchmarks were closed in observance of the 70th anniversary of Communist rule. Japan’s Nikkei 225
meanwhile, fell 0.5%, wiping out a similar loss from Monday. European stocks traded lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600