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Stocks fall from 20-month highs on trade talk concerns

Stocks fall from 20-month highs on trade talk concerns
FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid -
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BRENDAN MCDERMID(Reuters)
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By Herbert Lash

NEWYORK (Reuters) – World stock markets slid from 20-month highs on Thursday as uncertainty about a potential U.S.-China trade deal offset strong results from Apple and Facebook, while the dollar eased as investors mulled whether the Federal Reserve will cut rates further.

Chinese officials have doubts about reaching a comprehensive long-term trade deal with Washington and U.S. President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources.

The trade spat between the world’s largest economies has been a major focal point for investors as it has disrupted supply chains and roiled financial markets for more than a year.

MSCI’s gauge of equity performance in 47 countries <.MIWD00000PUS> slid 0.37% from highs last reached in February 2018.

The dollar fell to a 10-day low against a basket of major currencies after the Fed cut rates on Wednesday.

Investors remain concerned about a U.S. slowdown as the trade war continues, which could force the Fed’s hand.

“If things were to go negative, they are more likely to ease than raise interest rates,” said Steven Wieting, chief economist and investment strategist at Citi Private Bank in New York.

However, the underlying story has been the U.S. economy’s ability to outlast the downturn in manufacturing output, a development that has been underrated by the market, he said.

“It has further to go; just the fact we can absorb the shocks that we have,” Wieting said. “Production is going to go from declining to rebounding. That’s what is going to happen with earnings as well.”

European stocks fell. The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> lost 0.30% and the FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of leading regional shares fell 0.27%.

In late-morning trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 173.54 points, or 0.64%, to 27,013.15. The S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 12.2 points, or 0.40%, to 3,034.57 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 11.91 points, or 0.14%, to 8,292.07.

MSCI’s emerging market index <.MSCIEF> slid 0.03%.

The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.24%, with the euro <EUR=> down 0.11% to $1.1136. The Japanese yen <JPY=> strengthened 0.62% versus the greenback at 108.19 per dollar.

Graphic: World forex rates in 2019 – http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

Euro zone bond yields fell sharply, on track for their sharpest daily fall in October, after the Fed cut interest rates on Wednesday and as the report on U.S.-China trade tensions drove demand for safe-haven assets.

Yields on Germany’s benchmark 10-year bund <DE10YT=RR> fell to a low of -0.419% and were set for their biggest daily fall in October, the same as most other euro zone government bonds.

The price of benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes <US10YT=RR> rose 28/32 to push its yield down to 1.6997%.

Oil prices fell. Brent crude futures <LCOc1> fell 51 cents to $60.10 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures <CLc1> fell $1.24 to $53.82 a barrel.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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