By Caroline Valetkevitch
The Dow and S&P 500 fell on Friday and were on track for weekly losses as investor anxiety built over a possible global trade war following President Donald Trump’s threat to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Europe has drawn up a list of U.S. products from bourbon to Harley Davidson motorbikes on which to apply tariffs if Trump carries out his plan, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross played down the fears, saying “hysteria over tariffs is a lot to do over nothing.”
Trump’s announcement comes at a time when the markets was already on edge over rising U.S. interest rates and bond yields, though some investors said a lot of details still need to be worked out.
“If (it is) the case, this could get bad, but we’re not there yet,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment Officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “I’m personally not reacting just yet … I wouldn’t bet on any” impact to earnings at this point.
Shares in big U.S. steel companies and manufacturers were under pressure on uncertainty over the effects of tariffs.
Shares in Caterpillar, a buyer of raw materials and a big exporter of construction machinery products, were down 2.6 percent after falling 2.8 percent in the previous day’s session. General Motors was down 1.9 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 219.48 points, or 0.89 percent, to 24,389.5, the S&P 500 lost 4.64 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,673.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.09 points, or 0.32 percent, to 7,203.66.
McDonald’s dropped 5.2 percent after RBC lowered its price target on the stock and cut its 2018 earnings estimate, citing a disappointing early sales impact from McDonald’s value menu. The stocks was the biggest drag on the S&P and the Dow.
J.C. Penney Co Inc shares fell 5.5 percent after the department store chain missed same-store sales estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.05-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.01-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 25 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 50 new highs and 63 new lows.