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Wall Street swoons on Tillerson firing, tech losses; oil dragged down

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Nick Brown

(Reuters) - U.S. and European stock indexes closed down on Tuesday, pressured by losses in and U.S. Donald Trump's ouster of Secretary of State

Sagging equities, in turn, weighed on the dollar and The possibility of additional tariffs on China, which made late in the day, may have also dragged stocks down across sectors.

"Technology rallied hard yesterday and last week, and there is profit-taking, but it's just a short-term pressure," said Ken Polcari, of the floor division at in

Falling stock prices pressured oil futures, which fell as much as 1.8 percent before regaining some ground. Oil lately has trended in tandem with equities and remains under pressure from nagging concerns over rising U.S. production.

Trump gave Tillerson the boot after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, and Iran, and replaced his with

The move contributed to a volatile morning across asset classes, but markets began trending decidedly in the red by the afternoon.

U.S. crude fell 0.83 percent to $60.85 per barrel. Brent was last at $64.69, down 0.4 percent on the day.

initially saw Tillerson's firing as a sign that a deal on Iran's nuclear program could collapse, potentially cutting that country's This view supported prices for awhile but could not overcome lingering fears about rising U.S. production.

"There's no stopping us and OPEC's frustration levels are going to grow," said Phillip Streible, at in Chicago, referring to efforts by major producers to curb output.

U.S. crude output has reached a record, and weekly data last week showed overall U.S. output rising further.

The <.DJI> fell 171.58 points, or 0.68 percent, to 25,007.03, the <.SPX> lost 17.71 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,765.31 and the Composite <.IXIC> dropped 77.31 points, or 1.02 percent, to 7,511.01.

Stocks slid as shares of Microsoft, and were down more than 1.5 percent each, top losers on the and the

Equity markets had opened higher after the announced its Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent in February. The data, in line with economists' expectations, suggested the Federal Reserve remains on track to raise interest rates at a gradual pace.

But "there's a lot of noise coming out of over all these changes that's causing the markets to really not focus," said Ken Polcari, of the floor division at in

Potentially compounding the strain were revelations that Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and

"I don't think wants to engage in a tariff war, however, this may be upsetting the apple cart," said Bryan Novak, at in "There could be some anxiety around it. It's really hard to place value on this right now."

European stocks closed down across the board. The pan-European index <.FTEU3> lost 1.00 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.38 percent.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.13 percent.

The dollar index <.DXY>, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.2 percent, with the euro unchanged at $1.2389.

In U.S. Treasuries, benchmark 10-year notes last rose 7/32 in price to yield 2.8444 percent, from 2.87 percent late on Monday.

(Additional reporting by and April Joyner; Editing by Bernadette Baum, and David Gregorio)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 03:31 IST