Wall Street tumbled on Friday with more than 1,000 points knocked off the Dow in two days as investors, increasingly nervous about a potential US trade war with China, shied away from risk ahead of the weekend and sought shelter from further losses.
In a volatile session, the S&P 500 came within a hair of its 200-day moving average, a key technical level. The benchmark index also nudged closer to its February low, which marked a correction, ending 9.9 percent lower than its Jan. 26 record.
“There is concern what the trade war could look like. Investors want to manage their risk. If it escalates rapidly, it could be a major headwind for the market,” said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, in New York.
President Donald Trump’s plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods moved the world’s two largest economies closer to a trade war as China declared plans to levy duties on up to $3 billion of US imports including fruit and wine even as it urged the United States to “pull back from the brink.”
For the week, the Dow was down 5.67 percent, the S&P 500 was down 5.95 percent and the Nasdaq was down 6.54 percent, marking their biggest weekly percentage falls since January 2016.
The Dow was down 11.6 percent since its Jan. 26 high, and hit its lowest close since confirming a correction in February. Volume on US exchanges was 8.11 billion shares, above the 7.3 billion average for the last 20 trading days.