Dow drops more than 150 points on trade worries, weak jobs report

Stock SectorApril 6, 20184min7
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Stocks traded lower on Friday as worries of a trade war between the U.S. and China grew. Wall Street also digested employment data that missed analyst expectations.

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The Dow Jones industrial average fell 170 points, with Boeing as the biggest decliner in the index. The S&P 500 declined 0.5 percent, with materials as the worst-performing sector. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.4 percent.

“This is truly a reaction to China,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “What we’ve seen with this administration is a trend of a big statement, followed by everyone getting riled up, and then a pragmatic solution is found.”

“Cooler heads may prevail moving forward,” Kinahan said.

After China announced fresh tariffs on 106 U.S. products Wednesday, President Donald Trump threatened more levies on Thursday, stating that he has asked the United States Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China.

Stock futures plunged on the news, while global stock markets fell. China’s Commerce Ministry said Friday the country will not hesitate to react with a “major response to the new tariffs from the U.S.

Boeing and Caterpillar, two companies that could be adversely affected by a trade war with China, fell 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

The major indexes came off their lows as shares of large-cap tech companies pared losses. Facebook and Amazon fell 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, after falling more than 1 percent. Netflix erased its losses, trading 0.2 percent higher at 9:42 a.m. ET.

The move lower in stocks also follows the release of much weaker-than-expected jobs data. The Labor Department reported the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in March. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 193,000.

“I’d call this one a mixed bag. The headline number may disappoint but there’s more than meets the eye,” said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E-Trade, noting that wages improved and unemployment remains at historically low levels.

“For investors, today’s report may be a tough one to swallow when coupled with a trade standoff that seems to be intensifying with each passing day,” Loewengart said.

Investors pored over the data to looking for any indications as to how the U.S. is performing and what this means for the Federal Reserve when it comes to the future path of raising interest rates.

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