US stocks fall on worries about trade, Iran

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US on April 30, 2018.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US on April 30, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished lower Monday (April 30) as worries about trade conflicts and Iran policy pushed aside positive earnings announcements.

US stocks started the day on a high note following strong McDonald's earnings and a stream of merger announcements, but weakened midday around the time that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of lying about its nuclear intentions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6 percent to close at 24,163.15.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.8 percent to end the session at 2,648.05, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also shed 0.8 percent to 7,066.27.

Major deals unveiled ahead of Monday's session included T Mobile's proposed buyout of Sprint.

But shares of Sprint nosedived 13.8 percent and T Mobile fell 6.2 percent on doubts that regulators will permit the transaction to close. Other telecom companies also slid, including Dow member Verizon, which shed 4.3 percent.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, attributed the market's change of heart to "geopolitical concerns" as investors try to guess whether President Donald Trump will withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal.

The unease also comes ahead of a Tuesday deadline for the Trump administration to enact tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, Mexico and four other counties that currently benefit from exemptions.

McDonald's surged 5.8 percent as it reported that first-quarter earnings rose 13.2 percent to US$1.4 billion, easily topping analyst expectations following strong sales in the US, China and other markets.

Twitter jumped 4.5 percent after announcing a venture to partner with Disney's ESPN business on a live sports venture. Disney rose 1.1 percent.

Andeavor surged 13.1 percent after it agreed to be acquired by fellow refiner Marathon Petroleum for US$23.3 billion. Marathon dropped 8.4 percent.