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World stocks weighed by Apple demand woes, trade tensions

World stocks weighed by Apple demand woes, trade tensions
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo   -   Copyright  ANDREW KELLY(Reuters)
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By April Joyner

NEWYORK (Reuters) – World stocks fell on Monday as worries about softening demand for the iPhone dragged down shares of Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and persistent trade tensions between China and the United States sapped investor sentiment.

Concerns about slowing economic growth also pushed down the dollar.

The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index dropped as much as 2 percent following a decline in shares of Apple and its suppliers. The Wall Street Journal reported Apple had cut production orders in recent weeks for the iPhone models it launched in September.

Renewed tensions between China and the United States also weighed. At an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative meeting in Papua New Guinea over the weekend, the issue prevented leaders from agreeing on a communique, the first time such an impasse had occurred in the group’s history.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a blunt speech on Saturday that there would be no end to U.S. tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods until China changed its ways.

“We’re just in an uncertain period for the economy, largely because of trade and trade issues,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “If (U.S. President) Trump came out and said he was very optimistic about the G20 meeting, or if (Chinese President) Xi came out and said that, this market would turn on a dime.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 405.46 points, or 1.6 percent, to 25,007.76, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 42.58 points, or 1.56 percent, to 2,693.69 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 196.26 points, or 2.71 percent, to 7,051.61.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.89 percent.

Mixed signals regarding the Federal Reserve’s course of rate hikes in the face of a potential economic slowdown has also weighed on markets, investors said.

Federal Reserve policymakers have recently raised concern about a potential global slowdown, leading some market watchers to suspect the tightening cycle may not have much further to run.

Data released on Monday by the National Association of Home Builders showed weakening sentiment in the U.S. housing market, adding to concerns over economic growth.

Still, New York Fed President John Williams stated that the U.S. central bank is moving ahead with its plans for gradual rate hikes as it marches toward a more normal policy stance.

Reflecting growth concerns and the possibility that the Fed’s tightening cycle may soon end, the dollar dropped to a two-week low on Monday. The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.28 percent.

In similar fashion, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hit its lowest level in more than a month. Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> last rose 4/32 in price to yield 3.0592 percent, from 3.074 percent late on Friday.

In Europe, Renault SA <RENA.PA> shares helped push the STOXX 0.7 percent lower as Carlos Ghosn, the joint chairman of Renault and Nissan Motor Co <7201.T>, was arrested for alleged financial misconduct.

Gold <XAU=> found support from the drop in the dollar and added 0.1 percent to $1,223.08 an ounce.

Oil prices edged up in choppy trade as they found support from a reported drawdown of U.S. inventories, potential European Union sanctions on Iran and possible OPEC production cuts. [O/R]

Brent crude futures <LCOc1> settled at $66.79 a barrel, up 3 cents. U.S. crude futures <CLc1> settled at $56.76 a barrel, up 30 cents.

(Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Chizu Nomiyama)

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