U.S. stocks were trading near one-month lows on Thursday, amid losses across sectors, as investors fretted about China’s weak economic data and the prospects of an interest rate hike by the end of the year.
Data showed China’s exports fell 10 percent in September, far worse than the markets had expected, while imports unexpectedly shrank, reviving concerns about the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
The Fed on Wednesday released the minutes of its last rate-setting meeting that showed several policymakers felt a rate hike was warranted “relatively soon” if the U.S. economy continued to strengthen.
Traders slashed their bets on a December rate hike to 65.6 percent from 70 percent shortly after the markets opened, data from the CME Group’s FedWatch tool showed.
Prices of gold, a safe haven, ticked higher, while the dollar, which is near a seven-month high, was trading near session lows of 97.76.
“China’s trade data spooked global markets and it comes at a time when we have a Federal Reserve that wants to raise rates soon,” said John Brady, senior vice president at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago.