US Stocks Open Lower on Threat Of New Tariffs


By investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a lower opening on Friday, with stocks likely to come under pressure after ending the previous session modestly higher.

Trade concerns are likely to weigh on the markets once again after President Donald Trump revealed plans to use tariffs to compel Mexico to make efforts to stop flow of illegal immigrants across the country and into the U.S.

?On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,? Trump announced in a post on Twitter

He added, ?The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed.?

Trump revealed in a subsequent White House statement the tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1st if the crisis persists, with tariffs eventually rising as high as 25 percent by October 1st.

The president argued the sustained imposition of tariffs will produce a massive return of jobs back to U.S., describing the move as an effort to ?firmly and forcefully? stand up for America?s interests.

?We have confidence that Mexico can and will act swiftly to help the United States stop this long-term, dangerous, and deeply unfair problem,? Trump said.

?The United States has been very good to Mexico for many years,? he added. ?We are now asking that Mexico immediately do its fair share to stop the use of its territory as a conduit for illegal immigration into our country.?

The threat of new tariffs on Mexican imports comes amid the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which has recently weighed on stocks and raised concerns about the global economic outlook.

After failing to sustain an early move to the upside, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday. The major averages spent a good part of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Eventually, the major averages closed in positive territory but well off their best levels of the day. The Dow rose 43.47 points or 0.2 percent to 25,169.88, the Nasdaq climbed 20.41 points or 0.3 percent to 7,567.72 and the S&P 500 edged up 5.84 points or 0.2 percent to 2,788.86.

The early strength on Wall Street partly reflected bargain hunting following recent weakness, with the Dow bouncing off its lowest closing level in well over three months.

An early rebound by treasury yields also contributed to the upward move, as a recent decline by yields has led to concerns about the outlook for the economy and the possibility of a recession.

Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders seemed reluctant to get back into the markets due to lingering concerns about the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Amid a continued escalation of the rhetoric, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui accused the U.S. of “economic terrorism” by raising tariffs on Chinese goods.

“We oppose a trade war but are not afraid of a trade war,” Zhang said. “This kind of deliberately provoking trade disputes is naked economic terrorism, economic homicide, economic bullying.”

A report from Bloomberg News indicating China has put purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold has added to concerns about a trade war.

Treasuries also turned higher over the course of the trading session, contributing to a notable downturn by yields.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest uptick in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended May 25th.

The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 215,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 212,000.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. economic growth in the first quarter accelerated by slightly less than initially estimated.

The Commerce Department said real gross domestic product surged up by 3.1 percent in the first quarter, reflecting a slight downward from revision from the previously reported 3.2 percent jump.

The downwardly revised increase in GDP, which matched economist estimates, still represented a notable acceleration from the 2.2 percent growth seen in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing pending home sales unexpectedly pulled back in the month of April.

NAR said its pending home sales index tumbled by 1.5 percent to 104.3 in April after surging up by 3.9 percent to an upwardly revised 105.9 in March.

The pullback came as a surprise to economists, who had expected pending home sales to climb by 0.9 percent compared to the 3.8 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader markets.

Energy stocks showed a significant move to the downside, however, with a steep drop by the price of crude oil weighing on the sector.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index tumbled by 2 percent, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index slumped by 1.7 and the NYSE Arca Oil Index fell by 1.3 percent.

Banking stocks also came under pressure over the course of the trading session, dragging the KBW Bank Index down by 1.3 percent.

On the other hand, gold stocks moved higher along with the price of the precious metal, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index jumping by 1.8 percent.

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