The averages were searching for direction in early trading as investors debated the conflicting signals coming from the administration and from media reports about the U.S. trade fight with China. Over the weekend, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called the 90 day truce with China a "hard deadline," but that seemed to conflict with statements about a soft deadline made by Larry Kudlow. The market chose its direction, to the downside, as the morning wore on and the losses accelerated after the Dow broke below the 24,000 round-number level.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the JOLTS report stated that job openings rose 119,000 to 7.08M in October, which was fairly in-line with the consensus forecast.
COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Apple (AAPL) are down 2% near midday after Qualcomm (QCOM) said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of most iPhone models in China as the court found the smartphones violated two of Qualcomm patents. Apple, meanwhile, said that all of its iPhone models remain available in China and that it will continue its legal fight with the chipmaker.
Facebook (FB) disclosed in a regulatory filing after Friday's close that its board approved an increase of $9B in the amount authorized under the company's share repurchase program. The board previously authorized repurchases of up to $15B of the company's Class A common stock under the program since it commenced in 2017, and this increase is incremental to the prior authorizations, Facebook stated.
GoPro (GPRO) announced that it plans to move most of its U.S.-bound camera production out of China by the summer of 2019 to mitigate the potential impact of inclusion on any new tariff lists. International-bound camera production will remain in China, the action camera maker noted.
In M&A news, Travelport (TVPT) announced a deal to be taken private by affiliates of Siris Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.4B, or $15.75 per share. Additionally, Tivity Health (TVTY) announced an agreement to acquire Nutrisystem (NTRI) for a combination of cash and stock valued at approximately $47 per share in a transaction that values the weight loss products maker at an enterprise value of $1.3B and an equity value of $1.4B.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Xperi (XPER), which rose 41% after it announced a pact with Samsung (SSNLF) to settle and dismiss all pending litigation between the companies.
Also higher was Allscripts (MDRX), which gained 6% after it agreed to sell interests in Netsmart for after-tax proceeds of approximately $525M, or about $3 per share.
Among the notable losers was MacroGenics (MGNX), which fell 29% after the FDA placed a partial hold on two studies involving MGD009.
Also lower was Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO), which dropped 9% after Seaport Global analyst Mike Kelly downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy due to high leverage and negative free cash flow.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 429.68, or 1.76%, to 23,959.27, the Nasdaq was down 55.98, or 0.8%, to 6,913.27, and the S&P 500 was down 38.94, or 1.48%, to 2,594.14.