Global growth worries set to weigh on Wall Street at open

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to fall at the open on Friday, as a batch of weak Chinese data raised concerns about global growth a day after the Federal Reserve hinted at gradual tightening of borrowing costs.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The news gave investors a reason to keep away from riskier assets, with worries about rising interest rates and effects of the U.S.-China trade war taking the shine off a decade-long bull run for U.S. stocks this year.

U.S. crude price LCOc1 entered “bear market” territory, falling more than 20 percent since early October and below $60 a barrel, potentially adding more pressure on the S&P energy index .SPSY, which was down about 4.9 percent this year. [O/R]

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) were down more than half a percent in premarket trading, while price of copper, considered an economic bellwether, drove 2.8 percent loss in miner Freeport McMoran Inc (FXC.N).

“A lot of investors look at oil prices as the general indicator of the global economy, so it being weak is not a good sign,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Amid a bitter trade dispute between the Washington and Beijing, Chinese data showed producer inflation fell for the fourth straight month in October on cooling domestic demand and manufacturing activity.

The China report sent Asian stocks into a tailspin, while trade-sensitive stocks such as Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) fell more than 1 percent.

“Worries about trade war and how the slowdown in China will impact the rest of the world mean stocks appear to be more risky, so there’s a typical risk-off move in markets today,” said DZ Bank rates strategist Pascal Segesser.

The Fed policymakers, as expected, left interest rates unchanged following a two-day meeting on Thursday. But their policy statement signaled more rate hikes on the way with the next one expected in December, their fourth this year.

Data on Friday showed U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in October and at their fastest pace in six years, fueled by a jump in costs for energy and trade services.

Prices paid by producers rose 0.6 percent, while analysts polled by Reuters had expected producer prices to rise 0.2 percent from September.

At 8:48 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 144 points, or 0.55 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 16.25 points, or 0.58 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 65 points, or 0.91 percent.

General Electric (GE.N) fell 4.3 percent after J.P. Morgan cut price target on the stock to $6 from $10.

Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) fell 14.3 percent after the video game publisher forecast fourth-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates.

Skyworks Solutions Inc (SWKS.O) also fell 6.5 percent after the analog chipmaker provided weak first-quarter forecast, raising concerns of slowing demand for premium smartphones.

Among the few bright spots, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rose 1.3 percent after the media company reported better-than-expected results as its theme parks and Marvel movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp” attracted crowd.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; Editing by Arun Koyyur