Futures slip as trade concerns persist

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REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – US stock index futures fell on the first trading day of the new quarter as China’s decision to raise import tariffs on US products rekindled global trade war fears and technology stocks showed little signs of recovery.

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Nasdaq futures pointed to a 0.6 percent decline at the open on Monday, as big names including Facebook and Amazon fell in premarket trading.

China, late on Sunday, said it would increase tariffs by up to 25 percent on 128 US products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts, escalating a spat between the world’s biggest economies. The move came in response to US duties on imports of aluminum and steel.

US President Donald Trump is separately preparing to impose tariffs of more than $50 billion targeting “largely high-technology” Chinese products.

At 7:18 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 113 points, or 0.47 percent, with 28,512 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 11 points, or 0.42 percent, with 78,340 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 58.25 points, or 0.88 percent, on volume of 32,382 contracts.

Amazon fell 1.5 percent after Trump launched his second attack over the weekend, accusing the world’s biggest online retailer of getting unfairly cheap rates from the US Postal Service and not paying enough tax.

Facebook was down marginally as the data scandal last month continued to weigh. On Monday, brokerage Pivotal Research slashed its price target to $138 from $152.

After stellar gains in 2017 and early this year, the S&P technology index posted its worst performance in March in nearly two years.

Hit by concerns about a possible trade war, rising interest rates and valuations in the technology sector, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted their worst declines in more than two years in the quarter ended March.

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