U.S. Stocks Fall on Tariff Plans

By Anonymous

U.S. stocks fell Thursday, giving up ground a day after technology stocks helped drive the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 to records.

Major indexes spent most of the day edging lower, then extended losses after a Bloomberg report suggested President Trump was backing plans to move ahead with tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports as early as next week.

The report took some shine off stocks, which had gotten a boost earlier in the week after Mr. Trump said the White House had reached a trade deal with Mexico. Uncertainty around global trade policies has pressured stocks throughout the year, keeping many investors cautious even as the U.S. economy has looked strong.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 137.65 points, or 0.5%, to 25986.92 on Thursday, snapping a four-session streak of gains. The S&P 500 lost 12.91 points, or 0.4%, to 2901.13 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 21.32 points, or 0.3%, to 8088.36.

Falling commodities prices dragged shares of materials companies lower, weighing on the S&P 500. Mining firm Freeport-McMoRan shed 52 cents, or 3.5%, to $14.15, following copper prices lower, while steel manufacturer Nucor lost 1.30, or 2%, to 62.79.

Exporters that investors have bet are vulnerable to fallout from tighter trade policies also lost ground, with Caterpillar falling 2.80, or 2%, to 139.06 and Boeing off 3.29, or 0.9%, at 346.90.

Declines in consumer-discretionary shares also pulled the S&P 500 lower, with discount retailer Dollar Tree sliding 14.68, or 16%, to 79.78 after its full-year guidance came in short of investors’ expectations.

Even with Thursday’s pullback, U.S. stocks remain near records, supported by broadly strong corporate profits and economic data.

Yet some investors said they have viewed the recent rally in U.S. stocks with a degree of skepticism, noting that they came on low trading volumes and were mostly concentrated in the technology sector of the S&P 500, which is up nearly 7% for the month.

“It’s difficult to equate the record highs and booming performance we’ve seen in the U.S. with a lot of the data we’ve seen that has been a bit lackluster,” said Roger Jones, head of equities at London & Capital.

“We’ve seen early indicators of future market stress starting to at least flash amber,” he said, pointing to disappointing housing data, a slowdown in global automotive sales and a selloff in emerging markets that could ultimately hurt U.S. multinationals.

Emerging-market currencies remained under pressure Thursday, with the Turkish lira losing 2.8% against the dollar. Turkey’s central bank on Wednesday took steps to undo some of the emergency support it provided to its banks in recent weeks while ratings firm Moody’s downgraded 18 Turkish banks on fears they will face growing difficulties in refinancing foreign-currency loans.

Some of the pressure on emerging-market currencies has stemmed from the dollar, which has strengthened as the Federal Reserve has continued raising interest rates and the U.S. economy has extended its expansion.

The dollar extended gains Thursday after data showed a key measure of inflation accelerated last month at the fastest annual pace since 2012.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3%, pulled lower by shares of banks and real-estate companies.

China led declines in Asian stock markets, with the Shanghai Composite down 1.1% and the Hang Seng down 0.9%.

South Korea’s Kospi edged down 0.1%, ending a nine-session streak of gains, while Japan’s Nikkei inched up 0.1%.

Write to Riva Gold at [email protected] and Akane Otani at [email protected]