S&P 500, Nasdaq close out worst week since December on trade worries

By Evan Sully
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S&P 500, Nasdaq close out worst week since December on trade worries

Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Evan Sully

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street extended its sell-off on Friday on renewed trade fears as the benchmark S&P 500 index and Nasdaq saw their worst weekly percentage plunges since December, when investors were spooked by the prospect of a looming recession.

The blue chip Dow and the S&P 500 hit their lowest levels since late June with S&P 500 and the Nasdaq registering their fifth consecutive days of losses.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields saw their steepest weekly decline in over seven years.

The sell-off wrapped up a tumultuous week, which saw the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 and a renewal of trade war fears following a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump announcing plans to impose additional tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports on Sept 1.

"The irony is that these trade policies are creating an environment for the Fed to lend itself to further rate cuts," said Matthew Keator, managing partner at the Keator Group in Lenox, Massachusetts. "But Trump is tweeting about hawkish trade policies and the market is going down because of it."

A report from Labor Department on Friday showed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 164,000 jobs last month, in line with economists' expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.41 points, or 0.37%, to 26,485.01, the S&P 500 lost 21.51 points, or 0.73%, to 2,932.05 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 107.05 points, or 1.32%, to 8,004.07.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, eight closed in the red.

Technology companies, which get a sizeable portion of their revenue from China, were the hardest hit, falling 1.7%. This sector was weighed by iPhone maker Apple Inc  and chipmakers.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index  slipped 1.6%, while shares of Apple fell 2.1%.

Second-quarter earnings season passed its halfway mark, with 380 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 73.9% have beaten analyst expectations.

New tariff threats dragged oil prices lower for the week, as Exxon Mobil and Chevron reported quarterly results.

Exxon topped analyst expectations but fell year-on-year, while Chevron's earnings rose 26%, in line with forecasts.

Sprint Corp shares dropped 5.8% even after reporting fewer-than-expected phone subscriber losses in the quarter.

Restaurant Brands International jumped 6.1%, after quarterly profits topped expectations.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.77-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.21-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 20 new highs and 184 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.78 billion shares, compared with the 6.62 billion average over the last 20 trading days.


(Reporting by Evan Sully; additional reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)