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Oil slide, China worries send Wall Street tumbling

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street’s three major stock indexes lost ground on Friday, after a week of recovery from the October sell-off, as oil prices fell further and more evidence of a slowing Chinese economy was reported.

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Oil prices fell nearly 1.0 percent on Friday, and have now seen the longest stretch of daily declines since 1984, on rising global supply and evidence of a slowing world economy.

The United States formally imposed punitive sanctions on Iran this week, but granted eight countries temporary waivers allowing them to keep buying oil from the Islamic Republic.

“Oil is spooking the market. If oil prices are going to go lower that’s another sign that the global economy is going to slow its growth,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 201.92 points, or 0.77 percent, to 25,989.3, the S&P 500 lost 25.82 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,781.01 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 123.98 points, or 1.65 percent, to 7,406.90.

The S&P energy index dropped 0.4 percent after falling 2.2 percent in the previous day’s session when US crude prices confirmed a bear market by falling 20 percent from their most recent high.

“I think we’re going to go lower than the October low. Economic growth is slowing but it won’t slow enough to stop the Fed from hiking,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group.

Investors appeared unwilling to take on risk, sending the S&P technology index down 1.7 percent as Apple Inc dropped 1.9 percent and semiconductor stocks tumbled 1.9 percent.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors ended the day lower.

The consumer staples index was the biggest gainer with a 0.5 percent rise while other defensive sectors such as utilities and real estate eked out small gains.

Against the backdrop of the trade policy dispute between the Washington and Beijing, Chinese data showed producer inflation fell for the fourth straight month in October on cooling domestic demand and manufacturing activity, while car sales fell for a fourth consecutive month.

The Chinese data sent global stocks into a tailspin and put pressure on trade and commodity sensitive sectors. The US industrials sector fell 1.0 percent and materials dropped more than 1.4 percent.

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