Stocks open lower as trade jitters persist

Stocks open lower as trade jitters persist

China's imposition of tariffs on a US$3 billion list of USA goods including pork and apples was expected, but still helped send markets down in what has become a jittery environment over trade war fears, said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis. Stocks fell sharply as investors responded to rising trade tensions between the United States and China and mounting scrutiny of big technology companies from consumers and politicians.

US Treasuries fell, pushing yields on the 10-year note two basis points higher to 2.75 percent.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.9%, or 458.92 points, which nearly matched the benchmark index's drop in the entire first quarter, when it tumbled 616 points. The Nasdaq composite slumped 238 points, or 3.4 percent, to 6,824. Boeing (BA) slid $6.14, or 1.9 percent, to $321.74, while industrial giant Caterpillar (CAT) fell 2.75 percent to $143.33. The Nasdaq Composite was off by 3.4 percent before recovering to end down 2.74 percent. UnitedHealth UNH.N rose 1.6 percent, one of the two Dow Industrials trading higher in the session.

Returning from the long Easter holiday weekend, Germany's DAX fell 0.8 percent while London's FTSE 100 declined 0.4 percent and France's CAC 40 dipped 0.3 percent.

Shares of Tesla jumped, up 8.2 percent as of 2.05pm in NY, after the auto maker reassured investors by saying it will not need to raise additional capital this year. There are a number of points of contention between China and Washington, Europe and Japan over a state-led economic model they complain hampers market access, protects Chinese companies and subsidizes exports in violation of Beijing's free-trade commitments.

Volatility was the theme in the US equity markets during the holiday-shortened week.

THE QUOTE: After a month of public negotiations between the USA and several other countries, Monday marked the first time another country has formally placed tariffs on US goods in response to the Trump administration's recent trade sanctions.

Despite its recent losses, Amazon stock is still up about 18 percent in 2018.

Health insurer Humana Inc's (HUM.N) shares closed up 4.4 percent on news it was in talks with Walmart (WMT.N) to expand their partnership or possibly be acquired by the retailer. The company said Friday, after the markets closed, that a recent fatal crash of one of its cars involved an activated Autopilot.

Cannabis stocks also saw declines on the TSX as Aurora Cannabis Inc. ended down 2.47 per cent, Aphria Inc. down 2.09 per cent, and Canopy Growth Corp. down 4.90 per cent. But Facebook shed 0.3%.

The dollar rose to 106.61 yen from 105.85 yen.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.66-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.23-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The euro dipped to $1.2288 from $1.2306. Natural gas picked up 1 cent to $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet.