Caterpillar and Nvidia warnings send Wall Street tumbling

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 7, 2019. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange 7, 2019. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Jan 29 — tumbled yesterday after warnings from Caterpillar Inc and Nvidia Corp added to concerns about a slowing Chinese economy and tariffs taking a bite out of US corporate profits.

Shares of Caterpillar, the world’s largest heavy equipment maker, fell 9.13 per cent and had their worst day since 2011 after the company’s quarterly profit widely missed estimates, hit by softening demand in and higher manufacturing and freight costs.

Caterpillar’s drop accounted for nearly a third of the Dow’s fall, and the S&P industrial index dropped 1.0 per cent.

Nvidia tumbled 13.82 per cent after the chipmaker cut its fourth-quarter revenue estimate by half a billion US dollars (RM2.06 billion) on weak demand for its gaming chips in China and lower-than-expected data center sales.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index slumped 2.09 per cent, while the S&P technology index dropped 1.40 per cent.

“People had some optimism last week on earnings when numbers were pretty good, and today it’s clearly gone the other way. China is such a big part of so many companies’ earnings picture,” said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Also hurting global investor sentiment, China data showed earnings at industrial companies shrank for a second straight month in December, hit by slowing prices and weak activity amid a protracted trade war with the United States.

As signs of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy become stark, investors are pinning their hopes for a compromise between Washington and Beijing on trade when officials meet tomorrow and Thursday.

“With the Chinese economy struggling the way it is and with companies feeling the impact, the US is also starting to realise that there is enough motivation to get a deal done. It’s just a question of when,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Although earnings have largely surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, helping the S&P 500 climb about 12 per cent from its December lows, worries about slowing have tempered expectations.

With Wall Street in the thick of quarterly results this week, 72.6 per cent of companies that have already reported have exceeded profit estimates, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Since the reporting season began two weeks ago, analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter profit growth have stayed steady at about 14 per cent, but expectations for 2019 earnings growth have dropped to 5.6 per cent from 6.3 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.84 per cent to end at 24,528.22 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.78 per cent to 2,643.85.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.11 per cent to 7,085.69.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sector indexes fell. Inc and Microsoft Corp each dropped nearly 2 per cent, while shares declined almost 1 per cent, dragging down the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. All three are set to report later this week.

The S&P energy index dropped 1.03 per cent as oil prices fell after US companies added rigs for the first time this year, a signal that crude output may rise further.

Amgen Inc fell 3.43 per cent, weighing the most on the Nasdaq Biotech index, after Evercore ISI downgraded its stock, citing heightened competition for its arthritis drug.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.82-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.11-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 29 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 7.3 billion shares, compared with the 7.7 billion-share average over the last 20 trading days. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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