The New York Stock Exchange opened at half mast on Monday, worried about disappointing figures on the Chinese economy and the Fed’s upcoming moves, while the situation in Afghanistan darkened investor moods further.
Around 4:15 p.m. GMT, the Dow Jones index fell 0.38% to 35,380.51 points. The extended S&P 500 index lost 0.55% to 4,442.28 points and the Nasdaq dropped 1.30% to 14,628.80 points. On Friday, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 ended on record highs and the Nasdaq was flat.
Disappointing activity data in China weighed on the market. Retail sales growth slowed much more than expected in July to 8.5% from 11.5% expected and industrial production slowed to 6.4%, more than expected. “This suggests that the Chinese economy is weakening and this is the main reason why the market is skeptical today,” said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital. These data “show that there was also a downward revision of Chinese GDP projections in the third quarter,” warned Karl Haeling of LBBW.
The situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban forces took control, “triggered some geopolitical angst” in the market, in the words of Patrick O’Hare of Briefing, without however becoming a fear factor. Yields on ten-year Treasuries edged down to 1.22% from 1.27% showing that some investors were turning to Treasuries for their safe haven. “I have seen some comments that the turmoil in Afghanistan may have played a role in the rise in bond yields but I don’t think it will last,” said Karl Haeling. “Afghanistan is such a small economy and is not connected to the global economy, I don’t think it’s going to have an impact,” said the analyst. “What is happening is embarrassing for the United States and it is very sad but I do not think it will have a lasting impact on the market,” he continued. “If things were to get worse, it could become a problem for the market,” added Peter Cardillo.
Investors were also on alert vis-à-vis the American Central Bank (Fed), which could announce its plans to reduce its monetary support as early as next month. “The consensus is growing on the fact that the Fed could announce a decrease in its asset purchases in September,” according to the Spartan Capital analyst.
Side shares, Tesla lost 4.79% to 682.76 dollars. The American road safety agency (NHTSA) announced Monday the opening of a preliminary investigation into the driving assistant of the manufacturer of electric vehicles, known as “Autopilot”, after a series of eleven accidents.