Wall Street Slides on Tillerson Exit, Tariff Worries


U.S. stocks added to losses after Politico reported that a package of tariffs targeting $30 billion a year in Chinese imports could be rolled out as soon as next week.

“This may be upsetting the apple cart,” said Bryan Novak, senior managing director at Astor Investment Management in Chicago. “When you look at tariffs, you don’t just look in a vacuum. You look at what follows on top of (them). It’s worth watching a bit more, to see the follow-through on our side and their side, but there could be some anxiety around it.”

The markets had opened higher after data showed U.S. consumer price growth slowed in February, an indication that an anticipated pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 171.58 points, or 0.68 percent, to 25,007.03, the S&P 500 lost 17.71 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,765.31 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 77.31 points, or 1.02 percent, to 7,511.01.

Tech and financial stocks were the biggest laggards among the S&P 500’s 11 major sectors.

Shares of Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc fell between 1.5 percent and 2.4 percent.

“Technology rallied hard yesterday and last week, and there is profit-taking, but it’s just a short-term pressure,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.

Financial stocks were weighed as U.S. Treasury yields fell in response to the CPI data and Tillerson’s exit.

Among individual stocks, General Electric Co fell 4.4 percent after J.P. Morgan cut its price target on the stock to $11 from $14, saying the industrial conglomerate was not a “safety stock” in a volatile market.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.27-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.55-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 43 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 180 new highs and 24 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.89 billion shares, compared to the 7.13 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, James Dalgleish and Susan Thomas)

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