Stocks slip on China-US tensions, Brexit uncertainty

Stocks slip on China-US tensions, Brexit uncertainty
James Denaro, right, talks stock prices at the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Major global stock indexes are mostly lower Monday morning, though losses are milder than last week’s rout.

The British pound is falling and U.K. stocks are higher following reports that a key vote on Britain’s departure from the European Union could be scrapped.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was down 21 points, or 0.8 percent, at 2,612, as of 9:53 a.m. Eastern time.

The benchmark index plunged 4.6 percent last week, its biggest loss in more than eight months, as investors felt the U.S. and China are still nowhere close to ending their trade dispute.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 219 points, or 0.9 percent, at 24,168, while the Nasdaq composite was down 24, or 0.3 percent, tat 6,945.

TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE: British Prime Minister Theresa May will address parliament Monday amid reports that she is considering postponing a vote to approve the Brexit deal she had struck with the European Union. May has been expected to lose the vote by a large margin.

The pound sank to .2631 on the uncertainty. It finished at .2751 late Friday. The weaker pound could help exporters, and Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.2 percent.

HUAWEI ARREST: China raised the pressure over the weekend on the United States and Canada following the detention of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. She is suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran, and she was detained while changing planes in Canada.

China summoned both the U.S. and Canadian ambassadors to meetings over the weekend, where it protested the detention and called it “extremely egregious.”

Meng’s arrest has jolted the stock market, and investors fear it is adding to the tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

OVERSEAS MARKETS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX lost 0.6 percent, and the CAC 40 in France declined 0.5 percent.

Asian stocks were hurt by weak economic data from Japan and China. Revised data showed the Japanese economy shrunk by 2.5 percent in the third quarter, a larger decline than analysts expected. Chinese imports and exports climbed at a much slower pace in November than they had in October.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 2.1 percent after revised data showed its economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 2.5 percent in the third quarter. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.1 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.2 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 99 cents, or 1.9 percent, to .62 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 80 cents to .87 a barrel.

It’s a resumption of the steep decline for crude’s price that began in October. Last week, crude steadied after OPEC and other major oil producers said they will reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting from January. The cuts will last for six months.

BULKING UP: Nutrisystem surged 30 percent after Tivity Health agreed to buy it for a share in cash and stock. That’s a 37 percent premium from the weight loss company’s closing price on Friday. Tivity stock dropped 26.4 percent.

BAD REVIEWS: One of Yelp’s biggest shareholders said it wants online reviews company Yelp to add new directors to its board. SQN Investors said the board hasn’t held itself responsible for strategic mistakes and weak quarterly reports, and should add representatives for shareholders.

The stock rose 1.6 percent.

BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.84 percent from 2.85 percent late Friday. The 30-year yield fell to 3.12 percent from 3.14 percent.

OTHER CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.97 Japanese yen from 112.64 yen late Friday. The euro slipped to .1401 from .1422.