U.S. stock futures fell Monday in a shortened session, as the weakest Chinese growth data in three decades weighed on investors, and the International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for global expansion citing trade issues.
Regular trading for U.S. markets will be closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Markets will resume the week on Tuesday.
How did the benchmarks fare?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMH9, -0.29% fell 150 points, or 0.6%, to 24,538, while S&P 500 futures ESH9, -0.31% dropped 15.10 points, or 0.6%, to 2,656.50. Nasdaq-100 NQH9, -0.46% fell 48.50 points, or 0.7%, to 6,743.
Stocks closed higher for the fourth-straight session on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.38% rose 336.25 points, or 1.4%, to end at 24,706.35 for a weekly gain of 3%. The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.32% advanced 1.3% to 2,670.71, up 2.9% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.03% added 1% to 7,157.23, finishing out the week 2.7% higher.
What’s driving markets?
China’s gross domestic product for 2018 rose 6.6%, the slowest annual pace that the country has recorded since 1990. The downturn deepened in the fourth quarter of last year, with growth rising 6.4% on an annual basis. The trade conflict with the U.S. added to the country’s woes as some exporters were forced to lay off jobs.
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The U.S. and China remain at loggerheads over a key issue to do with allegations that the latter has been engaged in the theft of intellectual property for decades. Bloomberg News reported very little progress has been made on the sticky subject even though the two sides have met in January. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said on Twitter Saturday that stock-rallying reports last week that the U.S. would ease tariffs on China were not correct, even as he said talks were “going very well.”
The International Monetary Fund said Monday that it expects global growth this year of 3.5%, down from 3.7% in 2018 and from the 3.7% it had forecast for 2019 back in October, citing global trade tensions. Unveiling its forecasts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the fund left its prediction for U.S. growth this year unchanged at 2.5%.
A partial government shutdown stretched into its 30th day on Monday, and there was little sign of the deadlock easing. Democrats rejected Trump’s latest proposal to temporarily extend protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall.
The shutdown has caused a backlog of economic data, with only a smattering of reports due this week, including existing home sales, weekly jobless claims and Markit manufacturing and services purchasing managers index data due later this week.
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Earnings will also swing into focus with a busy week ahead for investors. Johnson & Johnson JNJ, +1.24% , IBM Corp. IBM, +1.33% , Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, +2.57% and Ford Motor Co. F, +2.63%
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What are strategists saying?
“That is still a decent expansion by any standards, with the economy growing by 6.4% in Q4, however it reinforces the concerns of a slowdown that has prompted a series of measures by Chinese authorities this month to try to manage the worst effects of some sharp economic weakness that has spooked global investors,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., in a note to clients. Hewson was referencing the China growth data.
How are other markets trading?
Markets in Asia saw a positive session, though gains were tempered by China data. The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.56% closed up 0.5%. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.19% was off 0.2%.
Crude oil CLG9, +0.19% rose modestly, while gold GCG9, -0.23% dipped 0.2% to $1,279.70 an ounce and the U.S. dollar DXY, -0.01% was unchanged.
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