Wall Street’s main indexes were set to drop nearly 2% on Monday after Beijing announced plans to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. goods, raising fears that another round of tit-for-tat measures could push the U.S. economy toward recession.
Futures pointed to an almost 500-point fall at the open for the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, with Apple Inc down 3.8% and chipmakers and manufacturers exposed to China taking a hit.
China‘s Finance Ministry said on Monday it planned to impose tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, or a total of 5,140 products, from June 1, retaliating after U.S. moves last week.
“This just got messier and more expensive to the global economy and until we get [a] break here, markets are going to be under pressure,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
“Every increase in tariffs is a drag to the global economy and if it drags the economy down, it will drag earnings down, so stocks are going to react to that.”
The S&P 500 on Friday racked up its worst weekly decline since December, as Washington raised tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion to 25% from 10%.
U.S. officials over the weekend sought promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any “bitter fruit” that harmed its interests.
The tensions reverberated through global financial markets, with the yield curve between three-month U.S. Treasury bills and 10-year notes inverting for the second time in less than a week on Monday.
An inversion in the yield curve is seen as a classic signal that a recession is coming.
U.S. equities hit record highs just two weeks ago on hopes of a trade deal and a positive first-quarter earnings season. The S&P 500 closed on Friday at about 2.2% below its all-time high close.
As the trade dispute extends, investors expect tariffs to increase corporate costs, lower profit margins and hinder the ability of companies to plan or make capital expenditures.