August 12, 2019 / 5:12 PM / 10 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street slips on political tensions, recession fears

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* Shares of rate-sensitive banks fall

* Global political worries drive rally in safe heaven assets

* Ten of 11 major S&P sectors lower

* Amgen up after winning U.S. patent battle over arthritis drug

* Indexes down: Dow 0.87%, S&P 0.62%, Nasdaq 0.47% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Medha Singh

Aug 12 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Monday as protests in Hong Kong added to concerns on the pace of growth in China, already under pressure from the prolonged bout of U.S. trade tensions that have dominated financial markets this year.

The three main indexes ended marginally lower last week, wrapping up five days of high volume trading marked by wild swings, as investors feared that a slide in China’s yuan would expand the scope of the trade war to include currencies.

Protests in Hong Kong crippled one of the world’s busiest airports and added to the sense of crisis gripping one of China’s key global connection points.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc over the weekend cut its fourth-quarter U.S. growth estimates and said fears of the trade war leading to a recession were growing and that it no longer expected a deal before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

A sharp escalation in trade-related worries this month has pulled the benchmark S&P 500 about 4% away from its all-time high hit in late-July.

“I don’t think the trade war is going to end any time soon, it could drag on into 2020 ... then you have geopolitical concerns,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

“There isn’t a whole lot that investors can hang their hats on right now. You just don’t have solid corporate earnings or real strong fundamentals other than the labor market.”

At 12:37 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 227.49 points, or 0.87%, at 26,059.95 and the S&P 500 was down 18.13 points, or 0.62%, at 2,900.52. The Nasdaq Composite was down 37.66 points, or 0.47%, at 7,921.48.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, with the S&P 500 financial index shedding 1.21% and leading the losers. The bank sub-sector tumbled 1.57%, as lower bond yields hit shares of interest-rate sensitive lenders.

Amgen Inc rose 6% as a U.S. judge upheld two patents relating to blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel, denying a challenge by Novartis AG, which is seeking to launch a copycat version.

Coach owner Tapestry Inc and Versace owner Capri fell more than 4% as their brands came under heavy criticism on Chinese social media over selling T-shirts that showed Chinese-controlled territories of Hong Kong and Macau as countries.

CBS Corp and Viacom Inc are in the final stages of negotiating an all-stock merger that values Viacom at a discount to its closing price on Friday, two sources told Reuters. Viacom shares fell 4.4%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.74-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 23 new 52-week highs and 17 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 130 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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