Stock markets resume downtrend amid U.S.-China trade tensions.
U.S. stocks swung lower on Thursday, as global trade woes continued to dampen risk appetite even as technology shares hit record highs.
Dow industrials (NYSEARCA:DIA) headed for their eighth consecutive drop, with shares of Intel, Caterpillar and Boeing leading the declines. The Dow Jones 30 index fell 196.10 points, or 0.8%, to 24,461.70.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) closed down 0.6% at 2,749.76. Seven of 11 primary sectors contributed to the decline, with energy and industrials falling by the widest margin.
Meanwhile, the technology-driven Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) settled down 0.9% at 7,712.95.
A measure of 30-day volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) returned to positive territory on Thursday, including double-digit percentage gains that led the index to a high of 15.18. The so-called “fear index” settled at 14.76, having gained 15.4% from the previous day.
Global oil prices declined sharply as investors turned their attention to an upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The OPEC cartel is widely expected to announce a production hike on Friday, though objection from Iran could complicate matters.
Brent futures for August delivery declined $1.68, or 2.3%, to $73.06 a barrel on London’s ICE futures exchange. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined by a much narrower 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $65.56 a barrel.
In economic data, U.S. jobless claims declined unexpectedly last week, once again pointing to a healthy labor market.
The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits decreased by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 218,000, Labor Department data showed.
The Final Word: Stocks are under pressure by elevated trade tensions between the United States and China. With no resolution in sight, global markets could be in for a period of heightened volatility.