—Stocks fell Thursday, resuming a sell-off this week, after President Donald Trump said China “broke the deal,” fueling worries that the U.S. and China will be unable to hatch a trade agreement before new tariffs go into effect at midnight.
The Dow fell more than 300 points, while the S&P 500 slumped 1.2% and the Nasdaq sank 1.5%. The Dow is down more than 700 points and the S&P 500 has lost more than 3% this week after Trump threatened to raise tariffs on more Chinese goods over the weekend.
Shares of Intel fell another 5% Thursday after sinking nearly 5% in the previous session as the chipmaker said it sees both revenue and earnings per share growing in the “single digit” percentage range over the next three years. BMO downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform on Thursday, saying it sees the stock “treading water at best.”
“By the way, you see the tariffs we’re doing? Because they broke the deal. They broke the deal,” Trump said at a rally in Florida Wednesday evening. “So they’re flying in, the vice premier tomorrow is flying in — good man — but they broke the deal. They can’t do that, so they’ll be paying.”
Liu He, China’s vice premier and top trade negotiator, will dine with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other U.S. officials Thursday evening in Washington, just hours before the new tariffs are imposed. Liu is not expected to meet with Trump on Thursday, CNBC reported.
China claimed it will retaliate if the higher levies are imposed. However, the Chinese delegation is still in Washington this week to negotiate a deal. Despite Trump’s amped-up rhetoric, the White House claimed on Wednesday China still wants to make a deal, which kept the market temporary afloat for a day.
Thursday is “a pivotal day,” said Ed Mills, public policy analyst at Raymond James, in a note. “We believe Chinese officials will be looking to delay Friday’s tariff increase in order to continue conversations as to the appropriate level of commitments in key areas. However, the market reaction over the last couple days gives Trump some leeway to maintain an aggressive tone.”
Chipmakers, sensitive to higher tariffs, took a hit on Thursday as Nvidia and Micron both dropped about 4%. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF is down -7% this week so far, on pace for their worst week of the year.
Chevron’s stock rose more than 3% Thursday after the company said it will not submit a new offer to acquire Anadarko Petroleum and will collect a $1 billion breakup fee. The oil major also said it’s increasing share repurchase rate by 25 percent to $5 billion per year.
The Cboe Volatility Index, a measure of the 30-day implied volatility of the S&P 500 known as the “VIX” or the “fear gauge,” hit a fresh high of 23.38 on Thursday, its highest level since January 4.