By Will Horner
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 300 points in early trading Thursday after the latest flare-up in trade tensions battered shares of technology companies and sent investors seeking the safety of U.S. Treasurys.
The blue-chip index dropped 345 points or 1.3%, to 25421 soon after the opening bell, while the S&P 500 declined 1%. The Nasdaq Composite was also trading lower, falling 1.5%.
Trade tensions continued to plague stocks after a Chinese official said the U.S. should "adjust its wrong actions" if it would like to continue negotiations, according to a CNBC. The strong rhetoric follows a number of barbs between U.S. and Chinese officials since trade talks broke down earlier this month, and deepened investors' unease that the situation will be tough to resolve.
Shares of technology companies continued to suffer some of the heaviest losses. Those firms in the S&P 500 fell 1.7%, extending their losses so far this month to more than 7%.
Investors, meanwhile, sought the safety of government bonds.
Yields on 10-year U.S. government bonds, which fall as prices rise, hit a 52-week low of 2.356%. The yield on 10-year German government bonds fell further into negative territory and were last at -0.104%.
Mixed messages on the trade issue made it hard for investors to settle on a likely outcome, said Geoffrey Yu, head of the U.K. Investment Office at UBS Wealth Management.
"Investors may have trouble focusing on too many narratives at once. Right now, tensions between the U.S. and its major trading partners continue to drive stock market volatility," Mr. Yu said.
Investors were also weighing the latest meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve, which reinforced the view that the central bank will leave interest rates unchanged for now. The meeting took place before the recent flare-up in trade tensions.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 dropped 1.2% by afternoon trading, with all sectors of the pan-continental index falling into the red. In Asia, markets were broadly lower. The Shanghai Composite slipped 1.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng traded 1.6% lower and Japan's Nikkei lost 0.6%.
--Michael Wursthorn contributed to this article
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 23, 2019 10:22 ET (14:22 GMT)
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