A trader works in the S&P 500 options pit at Cboe Global Markets Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

S&P 500 Futures Tumble, Extending Worst Weekly Drop of 2019

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. equity futures slid, extending the stock market’s biggest weekly decline of the year, as a weekend of back-and-forth trade squabbling kept investors glued to news screens as earnings season wound down.

June contracts on the S&P 500 Index fell 1.4% and futures the Nasdaq 100 Index retreated 1.8% as of 9:20 a.m. in London. Last week, the cash S&P 500 slid 2.2% amid the escalating international rift. Uber Technologies Inc. fell a further 1.4% in pre-market trading after its rocky debut on Friday. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index slid 0.6%, led down by autos and telecom shares.

President Donald Trump’s administration has told China it has a month to seal a deal or face tariffs on all its exports to the U.S., even as both sides sought to avoid a breakdown in negotiations despite a developing stalemate.

Last week’s retreat in U.S. equities was the biggest rupture in a stellar 2019 for bulls. What was an 18% gain in the benchmark has shrunk to 15% and the index sits about 65 points below the record 2,945.83 it touched April 30. Tech stocks bore the brunt, with the Nasdaq 100 Index falling 3.3% and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index losing 5.9%.

S&P 500 Futures Tumble, Extending Worst Weekly Drop of 2019

After enjoying steady gains for months, flummoxed traders have struggled to keep pace with lightning-fast trade news, much of it emanating from Trump’s Twitter account. Several were resigned to the drop worsening, noting a market trading at more than 2 times sales is easily strained.

“Five to seven percent pull-backs are normal in any rally, but they become almost inevitable when ‘new and negative news’ is introduced to a market that is over-bought and whose valuations have become extended,” wrote Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak and Co. “Investors should stop worrying about if the market will fall due to the trade war issue and figure out the (lower) levels at which they want buy more of their favorite names.”

Trade Developments

Over the weekend, the White House’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said higher tariffs assessed on Chinese goods would have minimal impact on U.S. jobs and growth, while conceding that “both sides will suffer” from the trade war. Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday” that China has invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin back to Beijing, though no date has been set for new talks.

Meanwhile, the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of China’s Communist Party, said the U.S. should take full responsibility for trade-talk setbacks because it raised tariffs on China’s products, state television reported. China sought a mutually beneficial agreement but the U.S. went back on its word, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Sunday, citing a commentary that the paper will publish on Monday.

Outside the trade war, U.S. investors will see April retail-sales data on Wednesday that are expected to show a gain of 0.2% after a 1.6% increase in March. Housing starts and several factory reports will give a further sense of second-quarter economic momentum.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.