US stocks post weekly losses amid global trade prospects, data

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 19, 2019
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U.S. stocks posted weekly losses as investors weighed global trade prospects against major economic data.

For the week, the Dow shed 0.7 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.8 percent, and the Nasdaq declined 1.3 percent.

On data front, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index in May climbed to a reading of 102.4, a 15-year high, from April's reading of 97.2. This is higher than economists' estimates.

"Consumers viewed prospects for the overall economy much more favorably, with the economic outlook for the near and longer term reaching their highest levels since 2004," according to the report.

However, the gains were mostly recorded before China-U.S. trade talks showed more uncertainties.

The United States suddenly announced a decision on May 10 to increase additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

The unexpected move prompted China to adopt similar policies by raising the rate of additional tariffs imposed on some of the imported U.S. products from June 1.

The release of a batch of weaker-than-expected economic data stoked fears that the worsening global trade prospect would hamper global economic growth.

U.S. retail sales fell 0.2 percent in April, led down by soft sales of autos and building materials, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The figure is lower than the 0.2 percent-increase estimated by economists polled by Dow Jones.

Analysts said the data suggested consumer spending was sluggish at the beginning of the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 66 in May. It was the index's highest reading in more than half a year, but still fell short of last May's level of 70.

In corporate news, the White House on Wednesday issued an executive order to ban foreign-made telecommunications equipment which Washington deemed as "posing an unacceptable risk."

Following the news, stock prices of semiconductor and telecommunications equipment companies slid. Qualcomm, Micron Technology, and Qorvo declined 1.58 percent, 3.35 percent, and 6.14 percent respectively on Friday.

Walmart earnings beat analysts' expectations for the first quarter. It reported total revenue of 123.9 billion U.S. dollars for the quarter, and adjusted earnings per share of 1.13 dollars.

Doug McMillon, Walmart's president and CEO, said the retailer is "changing to enable more innovation, speed and productivity" and the changes have yielded good results. McMillon was also pleased with the combination of comparable sales growth from stores and eCommerce in the United States.

Cisco Systems also reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, sending its stock up. 

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