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Apple, Trade Woes Sink Stocks; Growth Worries Drag on Dollar


Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, Nov. 19, 2018.

World stock markets fell Monday as worries about softening demand for the iPhone dragged down shares of Apple Inc and persistent trade tensions between China and the United States sapped investor sentiment.

Concerns about slowing economic growth also pushed down the dollar.

The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index dropped 1.7 percent following a decline in shares of Apple and its suppliers. The Wall Street Journal reported Apple had cut production orders in recent weeks for iPhone models it launched in September.

Renewed tensions between China and the United States also weighed. At an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative meeting in Papua New Guinea over the weekend, the issue prevented leaders from agreeing on a communique, the first time such an impasse had occurred in the group's history.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a blunt speech Saturday that there would be no end to U.S. tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods until China changed its ways.

"That APEC was unable to issue a final statement clearly indicates that China versus the rest of the world isn't just about the United States," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network in Waltham, Massachusetts. "It's a widening of trade concerns that are already rattling markets."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 395.78 points, or 1.56 percent, to 25,017.44, the S&P 500 lost 45.54 points, or 1.66 percent, to 2,690.73 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 219.40 points, or 3.03 percent, to 7,028.48.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.30 percent.

Mixed signals regarding the Federal Reserve's course of rate hikes in the face of a potential economic slowdown also weighed on markets, investors said.

Federal Reserve policymakers have recently raised concern about a potential global slowdown, leading some market watchers to suspect the tightening cycle may not have much further to run.

Data released Monday by the National Association of Home Builders showed weakening sentiment in the U.S. housing market, adding to concerns over economic growth.

Still, New York Fed President John Williams stated that the U.S. central bank is moving ahead with its plans for gradual rate hikes as it marches toward a more normal policy stance.

"There's a widening gap between the Fed and what the markets think is the right course," McMillan said.

Reflecting economic growth concerns, the dollar dropped to a two-week low Monday. The dollar index fell 0.3 percent.

In similar fashion, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hit its lowest level in more than a month. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 3.0628 percent, from 3.074 percent late Friday.

Boosted by the drop in the dollar, gold added 0.2 percent to $1,223.56 an ounce.

Oil prices edged up, finding support from a reported drawdown of U.S. inventories, potential European Union sanctions on Iran and possible OPEC production cuts.

Brent crude futures settled at $66.79 a barrel, up 3 cents. U.S. crude futures settled at $56.76 a barrel, up 30 cents.

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