Market Update: U.S. Stocks Dragged Lower by Financials, Energy Companies; China Rebounds

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Monday, as brisk selloffs of financials and energy shares offset modest gains in the technology and communication sectors. A large relief rally in China failed to ignite a similar revival in Europe and North America as concerns over global growth dampened investors’ appetite.

U.S. Stocks Sputter

The S&P 500 Index opened in positive territory before wobbling during the morning session and eventually turning lower in in afternoon trade. The broad index settled down 0.4% at 2,755.88, with a majority of sectors finishing in the red. Energy and financials were the biggest decliners, each falling more than 1% as a sector.

Modest gains in tech pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index to higher ground. The benchmark rose 0.3% to close at 7,468.63.

Dow industrials declined 126.86 points, or 0.5%, to 25,317.48. DowDupont Inc. (DD), American Express Co (AMX) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) were among the biggest decliners.

European markets also headed for losses on Monday, with all major continental bourses finishing in the red. The Euro Stoxx 50 Pr index closed down 0.7%,

China’s Biggest Rally in Three Years

Chinese markets exploded higher on Monday, with the mainland indexes posting their biggest single-day advance in almost three years following reassuring comments from government officials last week.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged 4.1% while the CSI 300 Index closed 4.3% higher, its largest advance since November 2015. Hong Kong’s Heng Seng Index rose 2.3%.

Government officials ranging from the Vice Premier to the heads of the People’s Bank of China talked up the domestic economy last week, reassuring investors that the ongoing trade war with the United States would not have a material effect on the nation. President Trump has implemented tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, making whole on a campaign promise to hold Beijing to account for its unfair trade practices. According to the International Monetary Fund, the trade spat will result in both economies growing 0.2 percentage point slower next year. This will also lead to a downshift in global growth.

Last week, China reported annual GDP growth of 6.5% during the third quarter, the slowest since 2009. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to release preliminary Q3 GDP figures.

Lackluster Session for Cryptocurrencies

Risk-off sentiment in global equity markets in hasn’t translated into higher demand for bitcoin and other digital assets. On Monday, cryptocurrency prices traded slightly to the downside, erasing minor gains made during the previous session. At the time of writing, the total market capitalization of all coins was just over $209 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

The bitcoin price swung back below $6,500, though losses were generally well contained. Ethereum, XRP and bitcoin cash all traded slightly lower on a 24-hour basis.

Digital currencies are experiencing a downshift in volatility as well as in trade volumes, with investors unwilling to commit to either direction. Recent history has taught us that prolonged periods of lateral moves are usually followed by sharp declines in subsequent sessions.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi