Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Stocks slip after China says exports fell in December

Published:Tuesday | January 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP):

Stock markets around the world are down Monday after China reported a drop in exports in December. Fears about the health of China's economy and the global economy overall were a major contributor to the stock market's plunge in late 2018. Technology companies and retailers are taking some of the biggest losses.

The S&P 500 index fell 13 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,583 as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 87 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 23,908. The Nasdaq composite retreated 59 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 6,912. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 6 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,441.

The S&P 500 dropped almost 20 per cent from late September until the day before Christmas, partly because investors were worried that the global economy was slowing down dramatically and could go into a recession soon. Since December 26, stocks have regained about half of what they lost in the downturn, but investors remain sensitive to signs of economic trouble.

China's exports slipped in December, and exports to the U.S. fell 3.5 per cent as rising tariffs and broader weakness affected the world's second-largest economy. For the year, exports from China to the U.S. rose 11.3 per cent and imports from the U.S. rose just 0.7 per cent. Negotiators from the U.S. and China met earlier this month for three days of trade talks, but it's not clear how much progress was made or when the two sides will meet again.

Apple lost 1.5 per cent to $149.94 while Microsoft gave up 1 per cent to $101.79 and chipmaker Texas Instruments dipped 2 per cent to $96.62. Among companies focused more on U.S. consumers, Amazon fell 1.7 per cent to $1,612 and Wynn Resorts, which runs casinos in Macau, slumped 4 per cent to $109.05.

BREXITEFFECT

British stocks headed lower as lawmakers prepared to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's deal governing Britain's planned departure from the European Union. All indications are that she will lose Tuesday's vote heavily, and the effects of that loss aren't certain. That could lead to volatility for U.K. markets, particularly the pound.

Some British legislators say the country should reconsider its decision to leave the bloc, possibly by another referendum. Others think that the country would be better off to crash out of the bloc on March 29 without a deal.

The FTSE 100 index fell 0.8 per cent but the pound was little changed, rising to $1.2849 from $1.2845.

The largest utility in California said it will file for bankruptcy protection and its stock plunged almost 50 per cent. PG&E, the parent of Pacific Gas & Electric, faces potentially colossal liabilities over deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2019. The company had announced the resignation of CEO Geisha Williams on Sunday.

PG&E intends to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is seeking funding so it can continue providing service to customers as it restructures its business. The stock dropped 37.5 per cent to $9.24 in heavy trading, leaving the company's market value at about $4.8 billion. Media reports say its liabilities could reach $30 billion.

PG&E was valued at about $25 billion in November, when reports indicated that PG&E had a power outage around the time and place the deadly Camp Fire began. That blaze killed at least 86 people.

Newmont Mining will buy Canada's Goldcorp for $10 billion, creating the world's biggest gold miner. Miners are consolidating as gold becomes more expensive to procure. Barrick Gold said it would buy Randgold for more than $6 billion four months ago. Newmont fell 6 per cent to $32.79 and Goldcorp stock jumped 11.4 per cent in Toronto.

AP