US stocks started the week lower on Monday’s volatile session as markets continued to feel the effects of rising US-China trade tensions and concerns of a broader slowing of the Chinese economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 507.53 points, or 2.1%, to finish at 23,592.98 whilst the S&P 500 slid 54.01 points, or 2.1%, to end at 2,545.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 156.93 points to close at 6,753.73, a drop of 2.3%.
European markets also closed lower with the retail sector under pressure from less-than-expected holiday sales from online retailers and investors cautiously approaching the final full week of trading ahead of the Christmas break. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 1.1% to close at 343.26 and Germany’s DAX 30 lost 0.9% to 10,772.20. The UK’s FTSE 100 also slid 1.1% to end at 6,773.24 after finishing up 1% last week.
Oracle jumps on forecasts
Shares in Oracle Corp rose 5% on Monday as the business software maker forecast current-quarter profit above estimates after growth in its cloud services and license support unit helped the company surpass Wall Street estimates for the second quarter. Revenue at the firm’s biggest unit rose 2.7% percent to $6.64 billion as more companies shifted to cloud computing from the tradition on-premise database model to cut costs.
Oracle is a relatively late entrant to the rapidly growing cloud-based software business, but has aggressively stepped up its efforts to catch up with rivals such as Workday Inc, Microsoft Corp and Salesforce.com Inc. The company’s net income rose to $2.33 billion, or 61 cents per share, in the second quarter ended Nov. 30. Excluding items, the company earned 80 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 78 cents.
Twitter falls on hacking concerns
Twitter Inc shares fell almost 7 percent on Monday after the company said it was investigating unusual traffic that might be from state-sponsored hackers and, in what appeared to be an unrelated issue, a security firm said hackers used the platform to try to steal user data. The company observed a large amount of traffic to the customer support site coming from individual internet IP addresses in China and Saudi Arabia.
Twitter said in a blog that it discovered suspicious traffic to a customer-support forum while investigating a security bug that exposed data, including users’ phone country codes and details on locked accounts. It said the bug was fixed Nov. 16. The Chinese government consistently denies any involvement in hacking or other forms of internet attacks and says that it is dedicated to cracking down on such behavior.
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