U.S. stocks slid Thursday, after a report of a steep drop in China’s exports. Mining and chemicals companies and banks took some of the largest losses. China is the second-largest economy in the world its weakness could slow growth in the United States.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 45.3 points, about 0.3 percent, at 18,099. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 6.6 points, about 0.3 percent, to 2,132.6. The Nasdaq composite gave up 25.7 points, about 0.5 percent, to 5,213.3. The indexes had been down more than 1 percent during the morning.
OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 26 cents to $50.90 per barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, the international standard, was up 14 cents at $51.95 a barrel.
BONDS: Bond prices rose sharply and yields turned lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 1.73 percent from 1.77 percent. That hurt banks, as it’s a sign investors think interest rates will stay low and banks won’t be able to make as much money from lending. Bank of America fell 35 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $15.68 and Citigroup skidded 99 cents, or 2 percent, to $15.68.
CHINA WORRIES: China’s exports fell 10 percent in September compared to a year ago. That was a much bigger drop than in August and also a larger decline than analysts expected. China has been critical to global economic growth for a quarter century. Since the summer of 2015, stocks have periodically been roiled by worries that China’s economy was weakening.
WHEN CHINA SNEEZES: Miners and other companies that make basic materials fell the most in early trading. Many of those companies rely heavily on exports to China. Copper and gold producer Freeport-McMoRan gave up 72 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $9.33. Fertilizer maker Mosaic shed 93 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $22.86 while chemicals maker DuPont lost $1.01, or 1.5 percent, to $67.77. Paper and packaging company International Paper sank 95 cents, or 2 percent, to $45.44.