Stocks fall as COVID-19 lockdown protests in China spread

Click to play video: 'Protesters call for Xi Jinping to resign amid anti-lockdown protests in Shanghai'
Protesters call for Xi Jinping to resign amid anti-lockdown protests in Shanghai
Several people were arrested as anti-COVID lockdown protests were held in China’s largest city, Shanghai, on Sunday. Protesters called for the end of the Chinese Communist Party and for President Xi Jinping to resign – Nov 27, 2022

Stocks fell in afternoon trading on Wall Street Monday as protests spread in China calling for President Xi Jinping to step down amid growing anger over severe COVID-19 restrictions.

The world’s second-largest economy has been stifled by a “zero COVID” policy which includes lockdowns that continually threaten the global supply chain at a time when recession fears hang over economies worldwide. The recent upheaval in China is the greatest show of public dissent against the ruling Communist Party in decades.

The S&P 500 fell 0.9 per cent as of 12:08 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 260 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 34,068 and the Nasdaq fell 0.8 per cent.

Markets in Asia and Europe slipped. Bond yields held relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.70% from 3.69% on Friday.

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Technology companies were the biggest weights on the broader market. Apple, which has seen iPhone production hit hard by lockdowns in China, fell 2.1 per cent.

Several casino operators gained ground as the Chinese gambling haven of Macao tentatively renewed the their licenses. Las Vegas Sands rose 0.7 per cent and Wynn Resorts gained 3.2 per cent.

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The fallout from the collapse of crypto exchange FTX continued. Cryptocurrency lender BlockFi is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global fell 3.5% and the price of Bitcoin slipped 1.1 per cent.

Wall Street is coming off of a holiday-shortened week that was relatively light on corporate news and economic data. Investors have a busier week ahead as they continue monitoring the hottest inflation in decades and its impact on consumers, business and monetary policy.

Anxiety remains high over the ability of the Federal Reserve to tame inflation by raising interest rates without going too far and causing a recession. The central bank’s benchmark rate currently stands at 3.75 per cent to four per cent, up from close to zero in March. It has warned it may have to ultimately raise rates to previously unanticipated levels to rein in high prices on everything from food to clothing.

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Click to play video: 'iPhone maker Foxconn apologizes after mass protests at Chinese plant'
iPhone maker Foxconn apologizes after mass protests at Chinese plant

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will speak at the Brookings Institution about the outlook for the U.S. economy and the labor market on Wednesday.

The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for November on Tuesday. That could shed more light on how consumers have been holding up amid high prices and how they plan on spending through the holiday shopping season and into 2023.

The government will release several reports about the labor market this week that could give Wall Street more insight into one of the strongest sectors of the economy. A report about job openings and labor turnover for October will be released on Wednesday, followed by a weekly unemployment claims report on Thursday. The closely-watched monthly report on the job market will be released on Friday.

Click to play video: 'Canada unveils Indo-Pacific strategy in bid to move away from over-reliance on China'
Canada unveils Indo-Pacific strategy in bid to move away from over-reliance on China

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