Trade War Concerns Resurface Again on Wall Street
By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a lower opening on Friday following the upward move seen over the course of the three previous sessions.
Renewed trade war concerns may weigh on the markets after President Donald Trump threatened China with $100 billion of additional tariffs.
The threat from Trump comes after the U.S. and China traded tit-for-tat tariff announcements earlier in the week, leading to considerable volatility on Wall Street.
Responding to the threat from Trump, the Chinese Commerce Ministry declared it would ?not hesitate? to retaliate to new tariffs ?at any cost.?
However, Trump said the U.S. is still prepared to have discussions with China in support of its commitment to achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade.
Negative sentiment may also be generated by a report from the Labor Department showing U.S. job growth slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of March.
After turning higher over the course of the trading session on Wednesday, stocks saw some further upside during trading on Thursday. The major averages fluctuated in afternoon trading but managed to end the day firmly in positive territory.
The major averages closed higher for the third straight day following the sell-off on Monday. The Dow jumped 240.92 points or 1 percent to 24,505.22, the Nasdaq rose 34.44 points or 0.5 percent to 7,076.55 and the S&P 500 climbed 18.15 points or 0.7 percent to 2,662.84.
The continued strength on Wall Street reflected easing concerns about a potential trade war between the U.S. and China, which have recently led to considerable volatility on Wall Street.
The U.S. and China have engaged in tit-for-tat tariff announcements, but traders seem optimistic that the threats are only a precursor to negotiations of a trade agreement between the two countries.
Amid the focus on trade relations, the Commerce Department released a report showing the U.S. trade deficit widened by more than anticipated in the month of February.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $57.6 billion in February from a revised $56.7 billion in January. Economists had expected the trade deficit to widen to $56.8 billion.
The wider than expected trade deficit in February was the widest since the $60.2 billion trade deficit recorded in October of 2008.
However, Andrew Hunter, U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, noted the wider trade deficit was entirely due to a one-off royalty payment for broadcasting rights to the Winter Olympics.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 31st.
The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 242,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 218,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 225,000.
Energy stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day amid a modest increase by the price of crude oil. Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index surged up by 3.4 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index jumped by 2.8 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index advanced by 1.9 percent.
Considerable strength was also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent gain posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The strength in the sector reflected the easing trade war concerns.
Chemical stocks also saw significant strength, driving the S&P Chemicals Index up by 1.9 percent. The index continued to rebound after hitting its lowest closing level in nearly seven months on Monday.
Brokerage, retail and housing stocks also moved notably higher, while some weakness emerged among semiconductor and biotechnology stocks.