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Global stocks fell on Thursday as new data showed continued resilience in the U.S. labor market, adding to investor concerns about inflation, while Apple dragged technology stocks lower.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.2 percent, extending losses from the previous session. Tech giant Apple fell 3.3% on reports that China is expanding its ban on the use of iPhones.
In Europe, the region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 ended the day down 0.1%, its seventh straight session of losses. Germany’s Dax also fell 0.1%.
Markets were under pressure after Labor Department data showed initial jobless claims fell to 216,000 in the week ended Sept. 2, the lowest level since February and below analysts’ expectations.
The data added to signs that the U.S. economy remains resilient even as the federal funds rate has climbed to a 22-year high, adding to pressure on policymakers to keep policy tight for longer. A day earlier, another survey showed that the U.S. services sector unexpectedly expanded in August.
Lewis Grant, senior portfolio manager for global equities at Federated Hermes, said: “Investors don’t want to hear news of a long-term move higher, but the news has hampered global markets this week as economic data has been troubling.”
“Even if the Fed finishes raising rates, if the economy continues to be as strong as it is, it may need to keep key rates on hold for longer than previously expected,” said Karl Steiner, chief quantitative strategist at SEB Research.
The dollar, which tends to rise when investors expect higher U.S. interest rates, was up 0.1 percent against a basket of six currencies on Thursday, still near its strongest level since March.
In Europe, the Stoxx index of consumer goods and services fell nearly 3%, hitting its lowest level since the start of the year, as investors worried that a slowing Chinese economy could reduce demand for the region’s exports.
The latest data from Beijing on Thursday confirmed the fears, showing that China’s exports fell 8.8% in August from a year earlier, while imports fell 7.3%, suggesting slowing demand at home and abroad. China’s CSI 300 index fell 1.4%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.3%.
Oil prices edged lower as concerns over slowing demand in China, the world’s largest importer of fossil fuels, overshadowed earlier supply cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and Russia.
On international markets, Brent crude fell 0.5% to $90.15 a barrel, but remained close to its highest level this year, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude also fell 0.5% to $87.15 a barrel.