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Markets Right Now: Late rally erases an early stock slide

05 March, 2018, 02:02 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • Reuters

FILE PHOTO - Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 26, 2018.

Netflix has now added more than $47 billion in market value this year on the way to an S&P 500-leading gain of 57 percent.

Mr. Trump took to Twitter to defend his promise from Thursday to impose stiff tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, which has investors anxious about escalating retaliation by other countries that would damage the global economy.

Trump struck a defiant tone on Friday, saying trade wars were "good, and easy to win", and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, appearing on CNBC, said tariffs would have a "trivial effect".

Investors have a different impression. Markets tumbled from Asia to Europe, where the president of the European Union's governing body promised retaliation if Trump follows through.

The S&P 500 still ended the week with a loss of 2 percent, its third decline that severe in the last five weeks. The benchmark index is coming off its worst month in two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,538.06 for a loss of -70.92 points or -0.29%.

TRADE TROUBLES? One recent fear for investors has been the possibility of a trade war, where countries throw up barriers that hurt the global economy and profits for exporting companies.

For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 2 percent, while the Dow was down 3 percent and the Nasdaq fell 1 percent.

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Big industrial users of steel and aluminum such as Boeing opened with losses.

The Fed's chairman, Jerome Powell, jolted markets on Tuesday, when he said that he's feeling more optimistic about the US economy. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.89 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7,284.90.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is likely headed for three rate hikes in 2018, but investors are anxious that policymakers may be more aggressive. That could easily upset markets, which had been enjoying a remarkably smooth ride previous year. Higher rates can steer investors away from stocks because bonds will be paying more in interest. Later in the week, though, Powell may have calmed some of the fears when he said that he does not see inflation in wages "at a point of acceleration".

Treasury yields rose, as did gold, on inflation concerns. U.S. Steel X.N shares rose 5.7 percent, while shares of Nucor NUE.N climbed 3.3 percent. The two-year yield slipped to 2.23 percent from 2.26 percent, and the 30-year yield dropped to 3.11 percent from 3.13 percent.

Patterson Companies fell to the biggest loss in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected and said that its chief financial officer was leaving.

Stocks flipped between modest losses and gains Thursday as Powell told a Senate committee that the central bank continues to plan a gradual rise in interest rates. GM reported weak US auto sales Thursday, but much of the stock loss followed Trump's tariff move. Shares of the company, which sells dental and animal health products, dropped $7.57, or 24 percent, to $24.01.

The losses follow up sharp drops in markets overseas. Thursday's fall marked its third straight day of declines of at least 1 percent, the first such streak for the index since January 2016.

France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent and Germany's DAX was down 2 percent. The FTSE 100 in London gave up 1.5 percent.

In January, disposable personal income increased $134.8 billion, or 0.9 per cent, while personal consumption expenditures increased $31.2 billion, or 0.2 per cent. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 44 cents to $63.39 per barrel.



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