The US markets ended a choppy trading session on negative note on Monday as an increase in tensions between Western powers and Saudi Arabia added to worries over rising borrowing costs and the impact of tariffs. Geopolitical tensions were another worry for investors, starting with Saudi Arabia, which is locked in a diplomatic spat with the US. On Sunday, President Donald Trump threatened severe punishment for the Saudis if any connection was found between the kingdom and a missing dissident journalist. That country responded with an immediate threat to retaliate, sparking a rally for oil prices.
Investors also remained cautious after the Commerce Department released a report showing much weaker than expected US retail sales growth in the month of September. The Commerce Department said retail sales inched up by 0.1 percent in September, matching the uptick seen in August. Street had expected retail sales to climb by 0.5 percent. Excluding a rebound in auto sales, retail sales edged down by 0.1 percent in September after rising by a downwardly revised 0.2 percent in August. Ex-auto sales had been expected to rise by 0.3 percent, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.
A separate report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed the pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity accelerated by more than anticipated in the month of October. The New York Fed said its general business conditions index rose to 21.1 in October from 19.0 in September, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Street had expected the index to inch up to 20.0.
Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 89.44 points or 0.35 percent to 25,250.55, Nasdaq slipped 66.15 points or 0.88 percent to 7,430.74 and S&P 500 was down by 16.34 points or 0.59 percent to 2,750.79.
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