Market Update: U.S. Stocks Fall as Trump Set to Unveil New China Tariffs; Crypto Selloff Resumes

U.S. stocks declined on Monday as investors once again weighed the prospects of an all-out trade war between the United States and China. On the cryptocurrency front, Ethereum led a broad decline in afternoon trading.

Stocks Fall

All of Wall Street’s major indexes headed for losses on Monday. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was the hardest hit, falling 1.4% to 7,895.79. The large-cap S&P 500 Index fell 0.6% to 2,888.80, with losses mainly concentrated in information technology and consumer discretionary shares. Dow industrials closed down 92.55 points, or 0.4%, to 26,062.12.

The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as the VIX, spiked 12.8% to 13.62. The so-called “fear index” had declined in each of the past five sessions. Prior to that, it reached two-month highs as stocks declined following Labor Day.

U.S.-China Trade War

The White House is preparing to unveil a new round of tariffs on China targeting $200 billion in goods, marking the most dramatic escalation in the year-long trade war. According to the Financial Times, Washington’s trade haws are urging President Trump not to back down on tariffs, which are believed to run as high as 25% for certain goods. U.S. officials had previously said they are likely to impose a 10% tariff rate on 40% of Chinese imports.

The Trump administration is escalating its trade war against China amid reports that Beijing was looking to take a more assertive stance on tariffs. That said, China’s Foreign Ministry has once again reiterated that a trade war isn’t in anyone’s interest.

“We have always maintained that the only correct means to resolve the trade dispute is through dialogue and consultation on an equal basis with mutual trust and respect,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang recent said, as quoted by CNBC.

The new round of tariffs will be announced mere days after both countries signaled their readiness to return to the negotiating table.

Cryptos Decline

The cryptocurrency market was back on the defensive Monday, with Ethereum leading a broad downtrend that included tokens, altcoins and bitcoin. The combined market capitalization of all coins fell to a low of around $193 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ether’s price pivoted lower after regaining more than 30% of lost value. The second-largest cryptocurrency plunged10.5% to $197.50. Among the top-ten ERC-20 tokens by market cap, nine reported losses.

Bitcoin also pulled back sharply after failing to make new highs. BTC was down 3% to $6,311 despite relatively strong technical indicators that pointed to short-term upside.

There was no immediate catalyst for the sudden reversal, a sign that bearish sentiment continues to dictate market trends. In terms of news, Ripple has confirmed that one of Japan’s largest financial institutions will soon launch a payment app using the company’s xCurrent technology. Meanwhile, security issuer XBT has announced plans to launch a new product designed to give investors access to a basket of cryptoassets.

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