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US stocks trade lower amid growth worries, trade fears

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-08 03:21

Specialist Glenn Carell, center, and trader John Panin work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Jan 29, 2019. [Photo/IC]

NEW YORK -- US stocks traded sharply lower on Thursday as market mood was dented by renewed fears over a possible slowdown of global growth and trade uncertainties.

At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 359.13 points, or 1.41 percent, to 25,031.17. The S&P 500 dipped 40.99 points, or 1.50 percent, to 2,690.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 126.69 points, or 1.72 percent, to 7,248.59.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 traded on a downbeat note, with energy decreasing 3 percent around midday, leading the laggards.

Major US tech shares, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet, all declined at least 1.8 percent.

The European Commission on Thursday cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1.3 percent from 1.9 percent in 2018. Growth forecasts for Germany, France, Italy and Spain were cut.

The outlook projections reignited fears that the global economy may be slowing down.

Wall Street also grew concerned about global trade tensions. Trade issues have been a big part of market anxieties in 2018 and will continue to impact the 2019 outlook, experts noted.

"Though exports are only 10 percent of US GDP, 43 percent of S&P 500 companies' earnings come from outside of the United States," said David Woo, a researcher at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in a recent note.

If trade tensions were to escalate, it's unlikely the United States will be able to escape the consequences, Woo added.

On the economic front, in the week ending Feb 2, US initial jobless claims registered 234,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's unrevised level, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. The reading missed market consensus.

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