US STOCKS-Wall Street slides on Tillerson exit, tariff worries

US STOCKS-Wall Street slides on Tillerson exit, tariff worries

Reuters  | Mar 13, 2018 16:50

US STOCKS-Wall Street slides on Tillerson exit, tariff worries

* GE slides 4.4 pct after bearish J.P. Morgan note

* Big techs down more than 1 pct

* CPI data in line with estimates

* Indexes down: Dow 0.7 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct

(Updates to close)

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street's major indexes fell on Tuesday as the dismissal of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the possibility of additional U.S. import tariffs against China dragged down stocks across sectors.

President Donald Trump fired Tillerson after a series of public rifts over issues including North Korea and Russia.

Trump has appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo, seen as loyal to the president, to replace Tillerson. To lead the CIA, the president has tapped Gina Haspel, the agency's deputy director. time there's change, investors get nervous," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston. "They have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what the implications might be."

Still, Carey said, at least the nominees to lead the State Department and the CIA are familiar names.

"I don't think either change will be troubling to the market as people reflect on the qualifications of the people stepping into the roles," he said.

U.S. stocks added to losses after Politico reported that a package of tariffs targeting $30 billion a year in Chinese imports could be rolled out as soon as next week. may be upsetting the apple cart," said Bryan Novak, senior managing director at Astor Investment Management in Chicago. "When you look at tariffs, you don't just look in a vacuum. You look at what follows on top of (them). It's worth watching a bit more, to see the follow-through on our side and their side, but there could be some anxiety around it."

The markets had opened higher after data showed U.S. consumer price growth slowed in February, an indication that an anticipated pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual. Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 171.58 points, or 0.68 percent, to 25,007.03, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 17.71 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,765.31 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 77.31 points, or 1.02 percent, to 7,511.01.

Tech .SPLRCT and financial .SPSY stocks were the biggest laggards among the S&P 500's 11 major sectors.

Shares of Microsoft Corp MSFT.O , Facebook Inc FB.O and Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O fell between 1.5 percent and 2.4 percent.

"Technology rallied hard yesterday and last week, and there is profit-taking, but it's just a short-term pressure," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

Financial stocks were weighed as U.S. Treasury yields fell in response to the CPI data and Tillerson's exit. US/

Among individual stocks, General Electric (NYSE:GE) Co GE.N fell 4.4 percent after J.P. Morgan cut its price target on the stock to $11 from $14, saying the industrial conglomerate was not a "safety stock" in a volatile market.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.27-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.55-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 43 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 180 new highs and 24 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.89 billion shares, compared to the 7.13 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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