US STOCKS-Wall Street drops as trade tensions spike

Reuters

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    * China delegates scrap U.S. farm visit, indexes fall
    * Trade-sensitive tech sector drops
    * Netflix drags after CEO comments
    * Indexes fall: Dow 0.47%, S&P 0.51%, Nasdaq 1.01%

 (Updates to midday)
    By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh
    Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Wall Street's main indexes dropped
on Friday, after the Montana Farm Bureau said Chinese
agriculture officials who were due to visit U.S. farm states
next week canceled their trip, dampening optimism on U.S.-China
trade talks.
    The cancellation came as trade talks were held in Washington
and U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted a complete trade
deal with the Asian nation, not just an agreement for China to
buy more U.S. agricultural goods.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N26B12B
    "It's trade related and markets are just hyper-sensitive to
trade," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset
Management in Chicago.
    Recent signs of easing trade worries had supported the
markets, bringing the S&P 500  .SPX  just shy of its all-time
high hit in July. Now it stands 1.2% away from that level.
    Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower with
tariff-sensitive technology stocks  .SPLRCT  losing the most,
down 1.27%. The Philadelphia chip index  .SOX  fell 1.67%.
    "It doesn't look like China would be openly willing to give
concessions that the United States is looking for unless ...
there is some indication from the U.S. that there is some
interest in taking those tariffs off," said Liz Ann Sonders,
chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab.    
    At 1:49 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  was
down 128.44 points, or 0.47%, at 26,966.35, the S&P 500  .SPX 
was down 15.33 points, or 0.51%, at 2,991.46. The Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  was down 82.67 points, or 1.01%, at 8,100.21.
    Before news of the farm visit cancellation broke, the S&P
500 and Dow Industrials were edging higher, supported by gains
in healthcare stocks  .SPXHC , while a drop in shares of Netflix
Inc  .NFLX  kept the Nasdaq  .IXIC  firmly in the red.
    Netflix slipped 7% after CEO Reed Hastings' comments
underscored growing costs and rising competition from Walt
Disney Co  DIS.N , Apple Inc  AAPL.O  and other video streaming
services.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N26B0VB  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N26B2MQ
    Adding to Netflix's woes, Evercore ISI said recent data
painted an uncertain picture of the company's international
subscriber growth.
    The S&P 500 healthcare index  .SPXHC , which has been the
worst performing S&P sector this year, clocked the biggest gain
among the 11 major sectors.
    Merck & Co  MRK.N  gained 1.5% as the company's drugs
Pifeltro and Delstrigo received FDA approval for use in certain
adult patients with HIV-1 who are "virally suppressed".
    Roku Inc  ROKU.O  tumbled 21.7% after Pivotal Research
started coverage of its shares with a "sell" rating. 
    Chipmaker Xilinx Inc  XLNX.O  dropped 6.8% as Chief
Financial Officer Lorenzo Flores said he would step down,
prompting Bank of America Merrill to downgrade its stock to
"neutral".
    Markets are likely to be volatile towards the end of the
session due to "quadruple witching", where investors unwind
positions in futures and options contracts before they expire.
    Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.02-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a
1.32-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded 21 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and 36 new lows.

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru;
Editing by Anil D'Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)
 ((Ambar.Warrick@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6749-6625; Reuters
Messaging: ambar.warrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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