Overview

The S&P 500 notched up its longest losing streak of 2019 as weak economic data earlier in the day pointing to the effects of the trade war on growth took its toll on global markets.

Investors continue to wait for signs of a breakthrough to end the trade impasse.

Data in China showed its factory sector contracted for a third consecutive month in February with the country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index at a three-year low. US growth data for the fouth quarter last year looked brighter, coming in at 2.6 per cent, better than the 2.3 per cent forecast.

The S&P 500 ended 0.3 per cent lower and fell for a third consecutive session. That was its longest losing streak since December 24. The benchmark gained 3 per cent for February and is up 11 per cent year-to-date.

Sentiment also reflected cautious comments from President Donald Trump’s top trade official over the US-China trade dispute. Robert Lighthizer said China would need to do more than just buy more US goods before a permanent trade deal can be struck.

Geopolitical developments added to the sense of unease. After the summit between the US and North Korea ended abruptly, Seoul’s Kospi fell sharply in late trade to close down 1.8 per cent. Tension between India and Pakistan also lingered.

Miners, which depend on China’s growth for much of the demand for the metals they produce, are leading European equities lower.

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