NEW YORK/LONDON- Shares worldwide skidded further as a pickup in US and European business activity did little to ease jitters about rising US-China tensions, while gold broke above $1,900 an ounce on its march toward a record high.
In a tit-for-tat move, Beijing ordered Washington to close the US consulate in Chengdu in retaliation for China being told earlier this week to shut its consulate in Houston.
While a concern, US-China relations are unlikely to get out of hand and equities will continue to grind higher, said Teresa Jacobsen, a managing director at UBS Private Wealth Management in Stamford, Connecticut.
“To some extent this is saber-rattling because we have an election coming,” she said. “It’s really in everyone’s interest to resolve these issues. It’s not good for us, it’s not good for anyone else.”
MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets slid 0.81 percent, while emerging markets stocks fell 1.57 percent.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.68 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.62 percent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.94 percent.
Overnight in Asia, Chinese blue chips retreated 4.4 percent to wipe out a week of gains.
The Chinese yuan, a barometer of Sino-US relations, posted its worst week since mid May.
Thai shares led a slide in emerging Asian markets on Friday as a bigger-than-expected drop in June exports added to the impact on sentiment across the region from the diplomatic spat between China and the United States.
Benchmark indexes in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia all tumbled more than 1 percent, following a near 4 percent plunge in Chinese equities after China ordered the US consulate in Chengdu to shut, a reprisal for its Houston consulate being closed this week.