Stocks across the world are down Tuesday following new signs the global economy is weakening and reports of difficulties in trade talks between the U.S. and China.
The International Monetary Fund trimmed its economic forecasts for 2019 and 2020 and pointed to risks including trade tensions and rising interest rates. China’s government said its economy grew in 2018 at the slowest pace since 1990. The Financial Times also reported that the Trump administration canceled a proposed a meeting with Chinese trade officials this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 408 points, or 1.7 percent, to 24,297 in late afternoon trading Tuesday. The S&P 500 index lost 47 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,622.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 163 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,994. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dropped 29 points, or 2 percent, to 1,453.
Technology companies skidded, and so did industrial companies, which were hurt by the slower growth forecast as well as some weak fourth-quarter earnings. Bond prices climbed as investors looked for safer investments, and oil prices fell as traders expected weaker demand.
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Stocks in Europe and Asia also fell. Global markets have rallied over the last month as investors began to feel that a slowdown in the world economy might not be as painful as they feared. Even with the decline Tuesday, the S&P 500 is up 4.6 percent in 2019 and has jumped 11.5 percent since hitting its recent low on Dec. 24.
Global growth fears
The IMF is now says the global economy will grow 3.5 percent this year, down from its previous forecast of 3.7 percent. Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the global economy was growing more slowly than expected as risks increase. The bank cut its estimate for growth in 2020 to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent.
Earlier in the day, China reported its economy expanded by 6.6 percent in 2018.
According to the Financial Times, two officials were scheduled to travel to the U.S. ahead of meetings between the U.S. and China’s top trade representatives next week. But the meetings were canceled because of a lack of progress on some critical issues, which underscores how far apart the two sides remain.
Technology and industrial companies took some of the worst losses. Construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar shed 3.8 percent to $131.35 and farm equipment company Deere fell 4.1 percent to $157.82. Among technology companies, chipmakers absorbed sharp losses. Nvidia fell 5.8 percent to $147.90 and Texas Instruments lost 3.5 percent to $95.92.