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Stocks fall for first time in six days amid US government shutdown, China worries

Fred Imbert

Stocks traded lower on Friday as the U.S. government shutdown dragged on while worries over a possible slowdown in China also pressured equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94 points as Caterpillar and Goldman Sachs lagged. The S&P 500 dipped 0.36 percent, led lower by a decline in the energy sector. The Nasdaq Composite pulled back 0.4 percent.

The federal government remained closed on Friday for a 21st straight day, stoking fears the shutdown could drag on for a long time. On Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted he would skip the annual World Economic Forum at Davos later this month due to the shutdown.

Trump also said he will " probably " declare a national emergency if the White House and Congress cannot reach a deal to end the shutdown.

"We think a deal will be reached to reopen the government, but only after economic, financial and/or political pain is felt," Joseph Song, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a note to clients. "Every two weeks of a shutdown trims 0.1pp from growth; additional drag is likely due to delays in spending and investment."

Stocks came into the session riding a five-day winning streak. However, concerns over a possible slowdown in China weighed on equities Friday.

Goldman Sachs analyst Karen Holthouse said Starbucks would be the next company to warn of a slowdown in China following Apple's recent revenue guidance cut . "The recent AAPL [Apple] announcement (while potentially also product-driven) cited trade concerns/macro, and MCD [McDonald's] acknowledged softer trends in the region at a late November event," said Holthouse, who downgraded the coffee maker to neutral from buy.

Starbucks shares fell 1.5 percent.

Apple slashed its revenue guidance for fiscal first quarter last week, citing an unexpected slowdown in China. On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that warnings shows the Chinese economy is slowing . "The Chinese economy is slowing down. It's showing up a lot in consumer spending," Powell said. "Weak retail spending; everyone has seen the Apple news."

Concerns around Chinese economic growth come as China tries to strike a permanent deal with the U.S. to settle a punitive trade war. The world's largest economies have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods since last year.