S&P 500 Set for Another Down Week as January's Rally Fizzles

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks dipped in early trading Friday to join a worldwide drift lower as concerns remain high about global trade and the strength of the economy.

The S&P 500 is on pace to close out its second down week in the last three, as investors hit pause following a tumultuous two months where the index followed up its worst December since 1931 with its best January in three decades.

On the plus side for stocks: Companies are in the midst of reporting better-than-expected earnings for the last three months of 2018. But concerns are building about whether profits can keep growing this year.

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Investors are also worried about predicted slowdowns in economies around the world, with trade tensions between the United States and China adding to the strain. Several warnings about slower growth from Europe and the United Kingdom this week hit particularly hard.

The stock market's losses were widespread Friday, with roughly two thirds of all the stocks in the S&P 500 index lower. Consumer and energy stocks had some of the sharpest drops.

Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds continued to rise, as investors sought out safer areas of the market given all the concerns.

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KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time, and was on pace for its third straight decline.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 231, or 0.9 percent, to 24,937, and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.8 percent.

SCREECHING HALT: Goodyear Tire & Rubber plunged to one of the biggest losses in the S&P 500 index after reporting weaker-than-expected profit for the latest quarter. It cited weakness in China, which has been a big source of concern for investors recently. The world's second-largest economy is in the midst of a sharp economic slowdown, and it's a huge market for many big U.S. companies.

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Goodyear fell 9.4 percent.

PLAY TIME: Mattel surged to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting a bigger-than-expected profit for its latest quarter. Its stock leaped 22.8 percent.

Rival Hasbro, though, fell after its own earnings report fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Its stock dropped 5 percent.

BILLIONAIRE BILE: Amazon.com slumped 2.4 percent after its CEO, Jeff Bezos, said he was the target of blackmail by the publisher of the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish revealing personal photos of him. Bezos, who is also the owner of the Washington Post, has been locked in an increasingly tense buildup with President Donald Trump, and the Enquirer has been a strong backer of Trump in the past. The Enquirer's publisher said Friday that it acted lawfully and was negotiating with Bezos.

Amazon is one of the biggest stocks in the S&P 500, so its movements have a larger effect on index funds than other stocks.

TRADE CONCERNS: Markets around the world have been lurching up and down in recent months as investors worry about fallout from the U.S.-China trade dispute. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he doesn't plan to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping before their cease-fire on tariffs expires in early March.

Unless American and Chinese negotiators come to a new agreement, the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10 percent to 25 percent for $200 billion in Chinese goods.

The trade dispute between the world's two largest economies, which has cooled in recent months, has weighed on the outlook of businesses and the global economy.

Trump's announcement weighed on markets around the world, and indexes in Europe and Asia mostly fell.

YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.63 percent from 2.65 percent late Thursday. It had been above 3 percent as recently as December.


By AP reporter Stan Choe

AP Business Writer Annabelle Liang contributed from Singapore

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