US stocks tumble in first day of 2019 trading

US stocks tumble in first day of 2019 trading

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The U.S. stock market started 2019 in negative territory as a slowing Chinese economy weighed on equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.6 percent in early trading. The tech heavy Nasdaq also opened lower, down 1.7 percent. The S&P 500, however, was up 0.9 percent.

On Monday, the Dow ended its worst year in a decade after a month of highly volatile trade, with losses also dragging the NASDAQ into bear territory last year, or 20 percent off of its high.

(MORE: What is a bear market? Everything you need to know about the current economic volatility)

“I think the only explanation is that we’ve had this really nice rebound,” Craig Johnson of Piper Jaffray told ABC News. “We sold off really hard, and then we had a relief rally. It’s not tax law selling anymore, that’s already done, that was over in December, and Chinese industrial production was really weak.”

“Institutional investors are talking about China and what’s going on there rather than what’s going on in Washington,” Johnson added.

Investors were also jittery after The New York Times reported that U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer was urging President Trump to hold the line on trade negotiations with China, signaling that the escalating trade war could get worse.

(MORE: Dow Jones rallies, wiping out losses from the brutal Christmas Eve trading session)

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