Dow tumbles 572 points as trade war fears pummel stocks

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Most Asian stock markets turned higher Friday as investors brushed off initial worries about the Trump administration's latest threats of yet more tariffs on Chinese imports, indicating concerns were easing about a brewing trade battle between the world's two biggest economies. S&P 500 e-minis were down 18 points, or 0.68 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 49.75 points, or 0.75 percent.

The losses at the TSX were more modest, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index down about 150 points, or 1 per cent, at mid-afternoon. The Nasdaq composite slid 161.44 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,915.11.

The market has been on a bumpy ride this week as traders try to get a sense of whether a trade dispute between the two nations will escalate.

But late Thursday, Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to consider tariffs on another $100 billion in Chinese imports.

Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet - the FANG group - were down between 0.9 percent and 1.5 percent, while Apple fell 0.9 percent.

On Wednesday, Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration was involved in a "negotiation" with China rather than a trade war.

Employers added a lower than anticipated 103,000 jobs in March after several months of bigger gains, though the government's overall jobs report suggests that the labor market remains healthy.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished higher on Wednesday after a sharp plunge in the previous session. Boeing and other industrial companies rely heavily on overseas sales and could suffer greatly if global commerce is curtailed by rising trade barriers.

Hedge fund manager Doug Kass, who runs Seabreeze Partners Management Inc, said he was shorting the Standard & Poor's 500."The hastily crafted policy like we have seen from Trump over the last two, three days and now tonight in a world that is flat and ever-more interconnected is unsafe".

The swing in risk sentiment put the pep back into bonds, with yields on US 10-year Treasury debt down two basis points at 2.76 per cent. Dow futures 1YMcv1 were down 1.7 percent.

"Markets are forced to confront the idea that rates are going up and the stock market is not going to derail that process", McMillan said. China announced plans for a 25% tariff on $50 billion a year worth of American exports, including planes, cars, soybeans and chemicals. He stressed that the United States tariffs on China were simply proposals, still to be vetted by trade officials and open to public comment.

U.S. companies seen as more likely to be hit by trade tensions with China were among the biggest drags on the Dow, including Boeing, down 3.1 per cent.

The S&P 500 ended just above its 200-day moving average after trading well below that key support level that is watched by technical analysts.

Fed Chair Powell, meanwhile, signalled that the United States central bank still plans to press ahead with additional interest rate hikes in 2018, a stance that also disappointed investors. PayPal dipped $2.63, or 3.4 per cent, to $74.32.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, which has been steadily climbing as investors' inflation expectations rise, dipped to 2.78% after the jobs report. The global economy is expected to grow 3.9 percent this year, which would be its strongest showing in seven years, according to the International Monetary Fund. Heating oil lost 2 cents to $1.98 a gallon. Singapore's share index rose while Indonesia's fell. Silver fell 14 cents to $16.25 an ounce and Copper lost 5 cents to $3.01 a pound. The euro was flat at $1.228. Yields climbed, the dollar gained, gold fell and crude oil inched higher.

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