Wall St drops 1 pct on trade war fears, tech tumble

Monday, 26 Mar, 2018

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 723 points, or almost 3%, to 23,959.

March 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell about 1 percent on Thursday on the growing threat of a global trade war as the Trump administration plans to impose import tariffs on China and as technology stocks stayed under pressure.

Trump's decision to levy tariffs on Chinese imports fueled concerns on Wall Street that other nations will retaliate with their own measures targeting US trade.

The S&P 500 fell 55 points, or 2.1 percent, to 2,588.

"I think the stock market is going to be great", he said Friday at the White House after a reporter asked about the sell-off. That helped push bank stocks sharply lower too. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 skidded 1.9 percent to 5,824.50. The S&P is down 3.2 percent year to date, while the Nasdaq Composite is hanging onto positive territory.

Trump signed a presidential memorandum that will target the Chinese imports only after a consultation period. "The combination of fiscal stimulus and corporate profits will overwhelm tariffs".

Wall Street took another tumble on Friday (Mar 23), with the Dow falling 400 points, for a loss of more than 1,100 points in the two days since President Donald Trump launched a high-stakes trade confrontation with China. Facebook's deepening crisis and the Federal Reserve raising rates Wednesday rattled shaky investors.

And while the president has repeatedly touted the success of his policies by pointing to the soaring stock market, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 3,000 points since it peaked three months ago.

The Chinese government fired back within hours with its own threat to hit $3 billion in US goods with tariffs.

"China doesn't hope to be in a trade war, but is not afraid of engaging in one", China's commerce ministry said in a statement.

Germany's DAX lost 1.8 percent and the French CAC-40 fell 1.4 percent. Officials in China detailed a plan to retaliate to Trump's aluminum and steel tariffs by imposing their own tariffs on about $3 billion worth of imports of U.S. goods.

For now, investors are downplaying the odds of a broad global shift towards protectionism and a big fight between the USA and China.

The drop on Friday pushed the S&P 500 9% below its peak in late January, just short of the 10% threshold at which the index enters a correction.

The biggest losers on the Dow on Thursday included stocks with significant exposure to China: Caterpillar, 3M and Boeing. A 10 percent decline from its high earlier this year is considered a correction.

Trump has announced that he is slapping 25 percent tariffs on up to $60 billion on Chinese tech imports, including machinery, aerospace and information technology.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term volatility in the S&P 500, finished up 1.53 points at 24.87, its highest close since February 13. Caterpillar stock fell nearly six percent to close Thursday at $146.90, while Boeing stock dropped over five percent to close at $319.61. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index slumped 3.3 percent.