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June 18, 2018, 4:46 p.m. EDT

Dow logs 5th straight drop, but stocks end off lows as energy, tech limit trade-war slide

Energy stocks, supported by rise in Brent futures, gain ground

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By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica


AFP/Getty Images
The U.S.-China trade spat is heating up.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average registered its fifth straight decline Monday, but stocks broadly managed to finish above session lows as gains in energy and technology shares helped to limit declines partly inspired by fears over trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

What did the main benchmarks do?

The Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.95% fell 103.01 points, or 0.4%, to 24,987.47, led by drops in Intel Corp . /zigman2/quotes/203649727/composite INTC -0.96%  and Boeing Co . /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA -6.79% shares. The benchmark hit a session low near the open, down 264.71 points, before stopping that tumble. The fifth decline in a row for the blue-chip gauge represents the longest such skid since a similar slump ended April 24.

The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.39% closed down 0.2%, or 5.79 points, to 2,773.87, with a 1.5% fall in consumer-staples stocks and a 1% drop in health-care names pressuring the broad-market benchmark. Energy shares advanced 1.1%, while the S&P 500 technology sector finished with a 0.3% gain.

The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.83% , meanwhile, ended less than a point higher, up 0.65 points, or less than 0.1%, at 7,747.03, with the technology-laden benchmark also reversing its early opening declines.

The Dow is up 1.1% for the year, while the S&P has gained 3.8%; both remain a few percentage points below record levels. The Nasdaq has advanced 12.2% for the year and is just below an all-time closing high hit Thursday.

Meanwhile the small-capitalization focused Russell 2000 index /zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed RUT -0.41% finished the day up 0.5% at a record at 1,692.46. Small-cap stocks have risen because they are perceived as being more insulated from trade spats.

What’s driving markets?

Markets remain fixated on the escalating trade spat between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump on Friday announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, and Beijing retaliated by targeting high-value American exports .

See: Stock-market investors see China tariffs as a ‘buzzkill’

What are strategists saying?

“Trade tensions with China have consistently been the biggest driver of equity volatility recently,” said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell, in a note. “If the current trade skirmish with China were to escalate into a full-blown trade war, it could potentially have a materially negative impact on corporate earnings growth.”

Which stocks were in focus?

Shares in Tesla Inc . /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.92% rose 3.5% after CEO Elon Musk showed off the electric-car maker’s newest production line in a weekend tweet. He also predicted that those who are short on Tesla — meaning that they are betting for the stock to decline — “have about three weeks before their short position explodes.”

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc .  sank 12.3% after the Food and Drug Administration failed to approve a lotion product intended to treat plaque psoriasis.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
26,770.20
-255.68 -0.95%
Volume: 293.61M
Oct. 18, 2019 5:08p
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/zigman2/quotes/203649727/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 51.36
-0.50 -0.96%
Volume: 16.98M
Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
11.97
Dividend Yield
2.45%
Market Cap
$227.53 billion
Rev. per Employee
$659,665
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 344.00
-25.06 -6.79%
Volume: 13.57M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
40.28
Dividend Yield
2.39%
Market Cap
$193.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
$660,961
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
2,986.20
-11.75 -0.39%
Volume: 1.99B
Oct. 18, 2019 5:08p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
8,089.54
-67.31 -0.83%
Volume: 1.82M
Oct. 18, 2019 5:16p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed
US : US Composite
1,535.48
-6.36 -0.41%
Volume: 1.06M
Oct. 18, 2019 5:51p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 256.95
-5.02 -1.92%
Volume: 5.75M
Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$46.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
$439,627
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