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Dow drops 200 points on geopolitical concerns as Turkish lira plunges

Fred Imbert
Dow drops 200 points on geopolitical concerns as Turkish lira plunges

Stocks fell on Friday as geopolitical concerns pushed the Turkish lira to a record low against the dollar.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 200 points as Intel declined. The S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent as financials lagged. The Nasdaq Composite also pulled back 0.7 percent.

Bank shares led the way lower in the U.S. as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase all dropped more than 1 percent. Tech shares also fell as Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon all declined.

The lira fell 20 percent after President Donald Trump authorized the doubling of metals tariffs on Turkey.

Trump's comment came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked citizens to "change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira," noting this is "a domestic and national struggle."

Turkish stocks also fell on Friday as the iShares MSCI Turkey ETF dropped 18.1 percent. The ETF was already down 42.3 percent this year prior to Friday's losses.

The drop came after a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no apparent progress being made on the detention of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor detained in Turkey in 2016. Turkish authorities accuse Brunson of supporting a failed coup attempt earlier that year.


Trump threatened last month to slap "large sanctions" on Turkey if Brunson was not released.

"The Turkish lira is plummeting for a variety of reasons most notably the central bank's refusal to raise interest rates to support it as well as a recent ramp up in U.S. sanctions," said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell. "Currency weakness is fueling inflation and making it more expensive for Turkey to repay its large foreign currency denominated debt."

The geopolitical worries come as the U.S. is embroiled in a trade war with China. This week both governments announced the possibility of imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of goods.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Meanwhile, "core CPI" hit 2.4 percent in July, its highest since September of 2008 .

Friday's drop comes a day after the Nasdaq Composite scored its longest winning streak in close to a year , boosted by positive trade out of tech stocks including Amazon and Apple.

Intel shares declined nearly 3 percent after Goldman Sachs lowered its rating on the chipmaker, citing manufacturing issues .