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Stocks Close Modestly Lower After Trump Threatens More Tariffs - U.S. Commentary


Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Friday before ending the day modestly lower. With the drop on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 extended the pullback seen over the past few sessions.

The major averages all ended the day in negative territory. The Dow fell 79.33 points or 0.3 percent to 25,916.54, the Nasdaq dipped 20.18 points or 0.3 percent to 7,902.54 and the S&P 500 slipped 6.37 points or 0.2 percent to 2,871.68.

For the holiday-shortened week, the Nasdaq plunged by 2.6 percent, the S&P 500 slumped by 1 percent and the Dow edged down by 0.2 percent.

The lower close on Wall Street came amid ongoing trade concerns after President Donald Trump suggested he may impose tariffs on another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump's remarks to reporters aboard Air Force One came as the administration is already considering imposing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods following the expiration of a public comment period at midnight on Thursday.

"The $200 billion we are talking about could take place very soon depending on what happens," Trump said. "To a certain extent it's going to be up to China."

"And I hate to say this, but behind that is another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want," he added. "That changes the equation."

China's Commerce Ministry has warned it will be forced to roll out necessary retaliatory measures if the U.S. imposes any new tariffs.

Trading earlier in the day was impacted by reaction to a closely watched Labor Department report showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of August.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 201,000 jobs in August after climbing by a downwardly revised 147,000 jobs in July.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 191,000 jobs compared to the addition of 157,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said the annual rate of average hourly employee earnings growth accelerated to 2.9 percent in August from 2.7 percent in July.

The data paints a positive picture of the economy but also reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month.

Sector News

Housing stocks moved significantly lower over the course of the trading session, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.2 percent. The index fell to its lowest closing level in nearly a month.

Interest-rate sensitive utilities and commercial real estate stocks also came under pressure, with the Dow Jones Utility Average and the Dow Jones Real Estate Index both sliding by 1.1 percent.

Telecom and biotechnology stocks also saw some weakness on the day, although most of the major sectors ended the session showing only modest moves.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed just below the unchanged line.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index closed marginally higher and the French CAC 40 Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved significantly lower following the upbeat jobs data. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 6.3 basis points to 2.942 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trade news may continue to attract attention next week, although traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on producer and consumer price inflation, retail sales and industrial production as well as the Fed's Beige Book.

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