Market Update: U.S. Stocks Rattled by Trade War; Cryptocurrencies Pull Back from Multi-Week High

U.S. stocks declined sharply on Monday, with the Dow and S&P 500 pulling back from record highs on news that China and the United States had cancelled upcoming trade talks. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies slipped from recent highs on profit-taking.

Stocks Fall

All of Wall Street’s major indexes posted declines on Monday. The S&P 500 Index slipped 0.4% to 2,919.37, with seven of 11 primary sectors finishing in negative territory. Consumer staples were the biggest decliners percentage-wise; industrials and materials also finished firmly lower.

Shares of energy companies bucked the downtrend, rising more than 1% on average, as international crude prices hit four-year highs.

The much narrower Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 181.32 points, or 0.7%, to 26,562.18. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index reversed losses in afternoon trading, rising 0.1% to 7,993.25.

The CBOE VIX, also known as the fear index, rose 5.2% to 12.29. VIX typically rises when stocks fall and vice versa. Levels below 20 generally point to complacent market conditions.

U.S.-China Trade Talks Cancelled

Equity markets were under pressure as new tariffs on U.S. and Chinese goods came into effect. Both countries have also cancelled upcoming trade talks after the Trump administration announced a 10% levy on $200 billion in Chinese goods. In response, Beijing slapped import duties on 5,000 U.S. products and rescinded its proposal to send a trade delegation to China.

The new round of tariffs on Chinese goods came into effect on Monday. The current rate of 10% is set to rise to 25% by year-end if China doesn’t comply with Washington’s demands.

The Trump administration is doubling down on its threats because China cannot match the U.S. dollar for dollar in a trade war. Beijing’s massive surplus with the U.S. gives Washington more leverage in negotiating the new terms of trade.

Cryptocurrencies Stabilize After Sharp Correction

The cryptocurrency market was valued at roughly $220 billion Monday afternoon, well off its most recent high of $230 billion. The sharp pullback affected all major coins, though altcoins were disproportionately impacted.

XRP and XLM, the market’s top performers last week, were each down double digits through the early morning session. By the afternoon, XRP had pared its losses to 7.5% and was trading at $0.524. Meanwhile, Stellar’s XLM was worth $0.264, having declined 5.7% over 24 hours.

Bitcoin stemmed its intraday loss to less than 1% as markets continued to stabilize. The leading digital currency is currently trading around $6,643 for a 52% share of the overall market.

As Hacked reported earlier, a pullback in the market was expected following the rapid gains in altcoins and tokens over the past five days. Although the gains were largely predicated on positive fundamental news, the bulls have yet to make a convincing break higher. This means the status quo of lower for longer is still very much in effect.

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