Politics

US STOCKS-Nasdaq confirms bear market; economic worries sink Wall St

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* Stocks add losses on Navarro trade comments

* Tech, communication services lead declines

* Nike jumps after results top estimates

* Indexes drop: Dow 1.81 pct, S&P 2.06 pct, Nasdaq 2.99 pct (Updates to market close, changes byline, adds NEW YORK todateline, adds graphic)

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks fell sharplyin volatile trading on Friday, with the Nasdaq confirming it isin a bear market, as concerns of slowing economic growth ledinvestors to flee stocks in high-valuation sectors such astechnology and communication services.

The major U.S. stocks indexes accelerated declines in thelast hour of trading after White House trade adviser PeterNavarro said the United States and China might not reach a tradedeal at the close of a 90-day negotiating window unless Beijingcan agree to a profound overhaul of its economic policies. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nW1N1WR07I

With Friday's losses, the Nasdaq .IXIC has fallen nearly22 percent from its Aug. 29 high. The tech-heavy index droppedto its lowest level since August 2017. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YP1SQ

The benchmark S&P 500 index, already on pace for its biggestpercentage decline in December since the Great Depression, hitits lowest level since July 2017. It is now down 17.5 percentfrom its closing high on Sept. 20. The Dow Industrials fell toits lowest level since October 2017 and has declined 16.3percent from its Oct. 3 closing high.

The mid-cap S&P 400 .IDX also confirmed it is in a bearmarket.

Navarro's comments added to already-mounting concerns overpolitical uncertainty and the possibility of a slowdown ineconomic growth.

"That's definitely a weight on the market," said ShannonSaccocia, chief investment officer at Boston Private, ofNavarro's comments. "For investors, there's a heck of a lot ofsmall storms to be sailing ships through."

The increasing likelihood of a partial government shutdowninjected further pessimism into U.S. stock markets. PresidentDonald Trump said there was a very good chance a governmentfunding bill, which includes funding for a wall along the Mexicoborder, would not pass the Senate. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YQ1A7

The looming shutdown threat, along with Navarro's comments,overshadowed remarks from New York Fed President John Williamsthat the Fed was open to reassessing its views, which provided afleeting boost to the markets. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nN9N1LO013

Technology .SPLRCT and communication services .SPLRCL stocks bore the brunt of the sell-off, falling 3.0 percent and3.1 percent, respectively.

The FAANG group of momentum stocks fared poorly. FacebookInc FB.O shares tumbled 6.3 percent, Amazon.com Inc sharesslid 5.7 percent and Netflix IncNFLX.O shares sank 5.4percent. Shares of both Apple IncAAPL.O and Google parentAlphabet Inc GOOGL.O dropped more than 3 percent. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YP1YG

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 414.23 points,or 1.81 percent, to 22,445.37, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 50.84points, or 2.06 percent, to 2,416.58 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 195.41 points, or 2.99 percent, to 6,333.00.

For the week, the S&P 500 fell 7.05 percent, the Dow dropped6.87 percent, and the Nasdaq declined 8.36 percent.

For the second day in a row, more than 2,600 New York StockExchange and Nasdaq-listed stocks hit 52-week lows. The daybefore, nearly 3,000 stocks hit their low for the year, the mostin any one day since October 2008.

Adding to volatility was "quadruple-witching," when optionson stocks and indexes as well as futures on indexes and stocksexpire. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 15.18 billion shares, itshighest level in nearly two-and-a-half years, compared to the8.81 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Among Wall Street's advancers were shares of Nike IncNKE.N , which jumped 7.2 percent after the company's quarterlyresults beat Wall Street estimates. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1YP5WE

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a3.57-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.77-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 174 new lows;the Nasdaq Composite recorded five new highs and 857 new lows.

April.Joyner@thomsonreuters.com april.joyner.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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