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Wall Street back in sell-off mode on trade war fears

Wall Street stocks were back in sell-off mode Friday morning amid worries over the US-China trade clash and following mixed US jobs data.

After a benign open, all three major stock indices were solidly negative, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.6 percent at 24,560.35.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent to 2,657.25, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 1.8 percent to 7,059.24.

Analysts said the drops reflected anxiety after the US-initiated arrest of a top Chinese Huawei executive was seen as exacerbating the US-China clash.

"The market is kind of falling back into our interpretation of where we are in the US-China trade war," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR.

The Huawei arrest dampened expectations that the US and China could quickly hash out a deal following a tariff ceasefire announced last weekend, Hogan added.

Earlier, the Labor Department reported that the US economy added 155,000 jobs in November, below analyst expectations, even while unemployment held steady at 3.7 percent.

A survey of US chief executives released by the Business Roundtable showed a decline in confidence for the third straight quarter amid trade disputes, although the group said the index remained high by historical standards.

Technology shares were especially weak, with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet all shedding more than two percent.

But petroleum-linked shares advanced with oil prices after OPEC and non-OPEC crude producers agreed to slash crude supply by more than expected. Dow member Chevron rose 1.1 percent and Schlumberger gained 2.4 percent.

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