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US: Stocks join global selloff on trade war worries

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dropped on Monday, joining a global equities selloff on deepening worries over a trade war amid rising tensions between the US and key partners.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 1.3 per cent at 24,252.80, after earlier falling as much as two per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 1.4 per cent to end the day at 2,717.07, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 2.1 per cent to 7,532.01.

Investors were on guard for further escalation of trade hostilities between the US and China.

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Citing national security concerns, Mr Trump in late May announced plans to impose steep tariffs on Chinese goods, and then by June 30 to unveil "specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls" tied to "industrially significant technology."

According The Wall Street Journal, the measures likely would target investments in the United States by any firm that is 25 per cent Chinese held, although that threshold could drop if the investment is considered sensitive.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied the report saying any measures would apply to all countries stealing US technology.

But White House adviser Peter Navarro in a confusing interview with CNBC said first that there was no plan to impose investment restrictions on China or other countries, that the US was not singling out China, and then said Treasury would present a report on investment restrictions on China Friday.

Mr Navarro's remarks, made near the end of the trading day, helped lift US stocks from their session lows.

Dow companies with deep losses included Boeing and Caterpillar, which each lost around 2.5 per cent. The two companies have been seen as especially vulnerable to trade war fears.

Large technology shares also had a bad day, with Amazon losing 3.1 per cent, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet falling 2.7 per cent, and Netflix down 6.5 per cent.

Harley-Davidson sank 6.0 per cent as it announced it would shift some US manufacturing capacity abroad due to EU tariffs on US motorcycle exports. The company said the tariffs would add an estimated US$30 million to US$45 million in costs for the remainder of 2018 and US$90 million to US$100 million annually.

Campbell Soup surged 9.4 per cent following a report that Kraft Heinz was interested in buying the company. Kraft Heinz rose 0.2 per cent.

AFP