Market Sell-Off Set To Continue As U.S.-China Trade Tensions Mount


Stocks poised to open lower

U.S. stock index futures indicated a sharply lower open on Wednesday as fears grow over President Donald Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on more Chinese products. China confirmed that its top trade negotiator will travel to Washington where talks are scheduled to resume on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal had initially reported that Chinese officials were considering pulling out of the negotiations after Trump vowed to hike tariffs. At 6:17 a.m. ET, futures on the blue-chip Dow slid 107 points, or 0.41% to 25,866.

Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 declined 40.25 points, or 0.52% to 7,633.75 while those on the S&P 500 fell 12.37 points, or 0.43% to 2,878.38.

China April exports miss expectations

China released its April trade data on Wednesday, providing cues on how the country’s trade war with the United States is affecting its exports. The numbers show imports surprisingly jumped but both exports and trade surplus fell short of expectations.

Imports rose by 4%, their first increase in months, while exports unexpectedly dropped 2.7% from the same period last year.

Economists were expecting exports to have jumped 2.3% last month, according to figures compiled by Reuters. Meanwhile, trade surplus came in at $13.84 billion, well below the $35 billion expected by analysts.

Lyft, Uber drivers to go on strike in several cities

Lyft Inc (NASDAQ: LYFT) and Uber Technologies drivers are planning to strike in several cities around the world today to demand increased pay and better working conditions.

They plan to power off their apps and take to the streets of Georgia, Connecticut, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington D.C. Philadelphia, as well as in parts of South America, the UK, and Australia.

The strike comes ahead of Uber’s highly-anticipated initial public offering, and hours after Lyft posted a post-IPO quarterly loss of $1.14 billion. Lyft CFO Brian Roberts said in a call with analysts that the company expects 2019 will be a “peak loss year.”

Earnings to watch today

Market participants will be keeping a keen eye on several quarterly financial reports today. Companies releasing earnings before the open include McKesson Corp (NYSE: MCK), AECOM (NYSE: ACM), Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE: MPC), Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG).

Shares of Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), which is scheduled to release earnings after the close, were up 0.24% to $133.76 in premarket trade. CenturyLink, Inc (NYSE: CTL), Roku Inc (NASDAQ: ROKU), Inc (NASDAQ: STMP), and Perrigo Company plc (NYSE: PRGO) will also publish their earnings after the closing bell.