Market Update & Important Indicators:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its biggest one-week slide since March, as mounting fears over a potential trade war sent shares of industrial firms lower. After months of exchanging threats, the U.S. and China unveiled plans Friday to hit each other with tariffs on billions of dollars in goods. The moves marked the latest deterioration of relations between the world's two biggest economies, something that has kept investors and analysts on guard in recent months. Even as U.S. economic data have been relatively upbeat, with reports this week showing retail sales soaring and jobless claims falling, many remain wary of the possibility that restrictive trade policies could hit a wide range of industries and derail the global economy. Those fears have capped investors' appetite for risk, many say, explaining why the stock market has struggled for momentum. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, to 25090 on Friday for a loss of 0.9% this week, while the S&P 500 fell 0.1%, to 2780. The Nasdaq Composite lost 14.66 points, or 0.2%, to 7746.38 but added 1.3% for the week, buoyed by gains in the technology sector. Shares of agricultural and industrial companies, which some fear could be especially vulnerable to punitive trade measures from China, were hit by a fresh wave of selling. The US gold price was steady at 1,301.90/t.
Europe shares fell in late Friday trading as fears that a trade war could hit global economic growth undermined oil and commodity prices. The Stoxx Europe 600 dropped 1.0% or 3.87 points to 389.17. The DAX and CAC also fell 0.7% and 0.5% respectively.
Asian stocks were mixed Friday as investors parsed increased trade friction and divergent decisions from the world's central banks. Analysts pointed to rising trade tensions as a source of market stress Friday. President Donald Trump approved tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese goods, people familiar with the decision said, as the U.S. ratchets up its trade fight with Beijing. The Bank of Japan on Friday decided to stick to its ultra-easy monetary policy, another contrast with the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to raise its benchmark interest rate and to set the stage for more increases this year and next. In Asia-Pacific trading, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.5% after the dollar strengthened slightly against the yen, although the yen later recovered as investors sought market havens. Stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai lagged behind as investors parsed the latest tariff news. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged down 0.4%, ending the week 2.1% lower and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7%, shedding 1.5% for the week. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.8% Friday.
Australian stocks were the Asia-Pacific star, with broad gains leading the market to its best day in just short of a year. The S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.3% to 6094, a 4-week closing high and more than erasing what had been a modest decline for the week. Beaten-down financials rebounded 1.9% today and the energy sector rose 1.5%. Health care was the only decliner at 0.2% and after it had earlier risen 0.9%. CSL fell for a 3rd day running.
Base metal prices were all down on the London Metal Exchange. The 3-month copper contract slipped 2.1% to 7,019/t whilst tin traded at a lower 20,881/t. The price of aluminium fell 2.5% to 2,205/t and nickel decreased 0.7% to 15,108/t. Zinc recorded the largest decline, with a 3.1% slide to 3,120/t.
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