Caterpillar and Nvidia warnings send Wall Street tumbling

Caterpillar and Nvidia warnings send Wall Street tumbling

The Dow slid 400 points.

The shares plunged in the fourth quarter amid concern that weaker commodity prices, signs of slowing in China and risks to the European economy posed a threat to demand.

Deere & Co. fell 3.5 per cent, Cummins Inc. and Eaton Corp. each fell 4 per cent.

China's economy cooled in the fourth quarter under pressure from faltering domestic demand and bruising US tariffs, dragging 2018 growth to the lowest level in almost three decades.

Caterpillar, a bellwether for global economic activity, benefited in the past year from what the International Monetary Fund called the strongest global growth surge since 2010. The slowdown is being exacerbated by continuing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. Both companies attributed losses to declining sales and production in China. "China is now the most important topic in the market". Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp - all set to report later this week - were down more than 1 percent each, dragging down the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Nvidia said weaker economic conditions, especially in China, had ground down for its consumer demand for its gaming graphics cards.

Stocks are opening broadly lower on Wall Street as traders worry about the impact on USA companies of a slowdown in China's economy.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter to shareholders this month that demand for iPhones is waning and revenue for the last quarter of 2018 will fall well below projections, a decrease he traced mainly to China.

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Samsung Electronics Co's quarterly profit and revenue missed estimates on sputtering demand for memory chips during the last three months of previous year, the same period Apple saw anemic sales in China.

Volatile oil prices brought down Caterpillar's order book in the last quarter by about US$800 million from the September quarter. Stripping out restructuring costs and other items, earnings were $2.55 per share, which was 43 cents short of analyst expectations.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index fell 2.1%, while the S&P technology index dropped 1.8%.

Revenue climbed to $14.34 billion, $12.9 billion, led by increased sales in its resource industries segment. Fear of a potential recession took its toll on the stock market at the end of 2018, and the S&P 500 fell almost 20 percent between setting its record on September 20 and Christmas Eve.

Nidec Corp, a Japanese maker of precision motors used in computer drives, cut its profit outlook by 26 percent for the year ending on March 31, blaming it on the US-China trade war.

Caterpillar Inc. sent a gloomy signal on Monday when it posted its biggest quarterly profit shortfall in over a decade, and provided a 2019 forecast that trailed some of Wall Street's estimates.

Caterpillar Inc., based in Deerfield, Illinois, anticipates 2019 earnings in a range of $11.75 to $12.75, roughly in line with expectations.

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