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U.S. stocks hold steady a day after big loss on trade worries

U.S. stocks hold steady a day after big loss on trade worries

U.S. stocks hold steady a day after big loss on trade worries

US stock index futures were lower on Friday, continuing a sell-off on Wall Street a day earlier due to the rising threat of a global trade war after President Donald Trump moved to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 723.45 points, or 2.93 per cent, to 23,958.86, the S&P 500 lost 68.23 points, or 2.52 per cent, to 2,643.7 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 178.61 points, or 2.43 per cent, to 7,166.68.

Analysts also cited other factors behind Thursday's big drop, including unease over Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates under new chairman Jerome Powell, and worries that a data scandal involving Facebook could spur heavy-handed regulation of the fast-growing technology sector.

Despite strong warnings from business groups and trade experts, Trump on Thursday signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion US dollars of imports from China, in a unilateral move that triggered market selloff.

At the close of trade Thursday afternoon U.S. time, the Dow had lost 724 points, down 2.93 percent in a single day's trade. Nope. The blue-chip benchmark has dropped 411.47 points, or 1.7%, to 24,270.84, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.4% to 2673.73, and the Nasdaq Composite has declined 1.3% to 7249.93.

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Not every company set out how much of its revenue comes from overseas, but FactSet estimates that 30.5% of revenue at big companies in the S&P 500 comes from outside the United States.

Fears over Donald Trump's tariffs seem to have sent markets tumbling toward their next "correction"-the term economists and traders like to use to describe a 10% or higher decline from a stock index's most recent peak". Thursday's move drove the index back below its 50-day moving average, but it remains only 6.2% off its March 13 high and well above the low from its February 9 pullback.

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The U.S. Trade Representative identified 1,300 product lines as potential targets, including aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery.

The tariffs themselves are only equal to about 10 percent of China's annual goods imports to the United States.

"The market sentiment isn't good so when they get hit with something like trade tariffs they are more susceptible to it than they would be at another time", said Callahan.

The S&P was on track for its biggest daily percentage drop since February 8.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.6% following a 0.8% increase in January. The British pound initially jumped after the country's central bank voted 7-2 to maintain interest rates, but pared as investors digested comments from policy makers that weren't overtly hawkish.

Facebook shares, down 1.4 per cent, continued to weigh on the broader market and the tech sector, the best performing S&P group for this year. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.43 percent Thursday but is still up almost 4 percent on the year. China has already hit back, unveiling its own levies on $3 billion of US imports. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 92 cents to $69.30 a barrel in London. The German DAX was down 1.77 percent and the British FTSE 100 droped.44 percent. Heating oil added 3 cents to $2.02 a gallon.

The dollar fell to 104.87 yen from 105.28 yen in late trading Thursday. Silver fell 3 cents to $16.39 an ounce.

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