Photo: AFP
The US economy is not as strong as some think, while China's economy is not as weak as many presume it to be. Photo: AFP

Earlier this month, we wrote that the US stock market is on the Orient Express, with a dozen factors all conspiring to do equities in. The story has not changed, and there are still any number of reasons why stocks are continuing down on Wednesday.

The China trade war is taking its toll on industrials and semiconductors, as the Fed Beige Book reports that tariffs are raising input costs and compressing profit margins for manufacturers and retailers in most of America’s twelve Federal Reserve districts. Semiconductors are getting crushed, with market leader Nvidia down over 5%.

The US housing market is in free fall, with September new home sales down nearly 20% year on year. Homebuilder stocks are down 35% year to date. Home sales have shown hair-trigger sensitivity to interest rates, which suggests that household budgets are stretched.

A sharp fall in home sales is a bad signal for the consumer, so market leader Netflix is down almost 7% on no news, the worst performer in the S&P 100. AT&T is the second-worst performer.

Bond-proxy safe havens like consumer staples (Proctor and Gamble and Pepsico), utilities (Duke Energy and Southern co), and REITs are up about 3% as investors dive for cover in bonds.

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