There wasn’t much to smile about after Monday’s massive Wall Street stock sell-off — the worst drop of 2019.

The Dow fell 961 points at its low during the afternoon before scraping back to finish at a 767-point decline, or down 2.9 percent. The blue chips closed at 25,718.15. It marked the Dow’s fifth down day in a row and is about 5 percent off its July 15 peak. The broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.98 percent, closing at 2,844.74.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, most vulnerable to a China trade war because they have so much business there, fell 3.47 percent with NVIDIA Corp. among the biggest casualties. It was the index’s fifth worst session ever.

Bright spots were hard to find in the daylong scrum that got progressively nastier. Gold prices, a fear barometer, jumped. The Japanese yen and Swiss franc, long safe harbors, advanced.

“They are viewed as safe havens when the world falls to pieces because these countries are politically stable,” said Joachim Fels, chief economic adviser at Pimco.

Utilities, another go-to sector in stressful markets, peeked through to positive territory until succumbing and turning negative late in the day. Investors flocked to the safety of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond, evidence of a loss of faith in stocks altogether.

The losers were everywhere. Most stocks. Technology. Retail. Oil prices – down. Natural gas – down. Dow transports, a closely watched marker for the economy, fell. Even the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks ($2.5 billion and below) was off. The volatility index, VIX, soared 30 percent.

The boring value stocks like Verizon, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson were hurting, but not as much as technology stalwarts such as Apple, Visa, Facebook, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet. All endured big losses. Technology was by far the biggest bite out of the Dow.

“A market like this brings the high-flyers low,” said Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller & Washington. “The Dramamine names like Pepsi, Coke and J & J, with stable balance sheets, provide a somewhat smoother ride.”

The last two weeks have laid waste to what was an all-time high for the Dow Jones industrial average on July 15.

The trade volleys exchanged around the weekend, including China’s willingness to allow its currency to drop below a key threshold, have shaved more than 5 percent off the blue chip Dow.

All 11 stock market sectors were negative, dragging the three market indexes down with them. Technology, financial services, energy, consumer staples were the hardest hit.

Monday’s spiral followed stocks’ worst week of 2019. And if history is a tell, there is more angst to come as August has put up the worst numbers for stock investors for the last three decades.

Apple, which relies on China for 20 percent of its sales, was one of the stories of the day. It took a shellacking with shares down 5 percent. Apple stock is down 9 percent to start the month.

“The losers are anybody with big exposure to China,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. “Boeing, Caterpillar and the semiconductor stocks are most vulnerable. The biggest consumer of computer components including semiconductors is China. Nvidia is made there and used there.”

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond was trolling at 1.76 percent, which means investors are scared and locking up their money for safety but very little return. Mortgage rates follow the 10-year closely, which was one bright spot coming out of Monday’s flotsam.

“In the short run, big beneficiaries of this quick market decline include anyone in the U.S. who is looking to borrow money as long term rates continue to decline,” said Wayne Wicker, chief information officer at Vantagepoint Investment Advisers, LLC, $29 billion in assets under management. “Mortgage rates are down over 1.1 percent from their peak in the fall of 2018, giving current and prospective home owners another chance to (refinance) or purchase a home at substantially lower rates. Auto finance rates may soon start to reflect better terms as well.”

The plunge arrived after China struck back against President Trump’s threat to levy further tariffs on Chinese goods in the ever-growing trade war, rattling investors and bringing global markets to their knees.

By afternoon it was official: All three major U.S. stock indexes were having their worst day of 2019. Trillions in wealth was in the process of being erased.

Beijing allowed the yuan to slump to its lowest exchange rate in 11 years on Monday, a move Chinese officials characterized as an explicit means of leveling the playing field after Trump ended a short-lived cease-fire in the trade war last week by announcing plans to slap 10 percent tariffs by Sept. 1 on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports that had not yet been saddled with the steep levies.

“The Chinese have retaliated against the U.S.’s proposed 10 percent tariff by lowering the value of its currency — the yuan — below the psychologically important 7-yuan-per-dollar level,” Sam Stovall of CFRA Research said. “By weakening their currency, China is attempting to offset the effects of the 10 percent tariff, since a weaker currency makes the cost of China’s exports more affordable around the globe, while causing the cost of U.S. imports into China to go up.”

Trump criticized the move in a tweet Monday, while using China’s decision to devalue its currency as further ammunition against the Federal Reserve, which disappointed him last week by cutting interest rates by only a quarter-point in its first rate cut in more than a decade.

“China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low. It’s called ‘currency manipulation,’ ” Trump tweeted. “Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time.”

China’s move gives rise to an even gloomier outlook in the trade conflict that has tied up the world’s two most powerful economic engines for more than a year, threatening the health of the global economy and upending the foundations of international trade.

Trump frequently accuses China of weakening its currency to give itself an advantage in trade, which officials have denied. But this significant downturn is an answer to “unilateralism and trade-protectionist measures” and the latest round of impending tariffs, according to a statement from the People’s Bank of China. The weak exchange rate will make Chinese exports more affordable for Americans, while making U.S. exports more expensive for the Chinese.

“This means that some of the tariff costs to U.S. consumers will be offset by such devaluation of the Chinese currency, and that Chinese exporters will get less revenue in their local currency for their dollar sales in the U.S.,” said Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research. “In other words, Trump is partly right when he says that the Chinese will absorb some of his tariffs. But they are doing so by manipulating their currency to remain competitive in the U.S.”

The abrupt escalation of the trade war sent fears rippling through global markets. Asian markets slumped, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closing down 2.85 percent. Japan’s Nikkei was down 1.7 percent, and Korea’s Kospi tumbled 2.6 percent. European stocks also fell across the board, with the Stoxx 600 index slipping 2 percent in midday trading.

Scrounging for a positive takeaway from Monday’s morass, Fels offered a bright note.

”If all this leads to a better trade deal at some stage, then you will have a lot of winners,” said Pimco’s Fels. “This may be the short-term pain that is needed for a better trade deal with protections for intellectual property rights and fairer trade practices. That’s the big question.”

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