Dow drops 600 points as trade war fears return

Stocks fell victim to heightened fears about potential trade wars, exacerbated by a more strident tone from Trump administration officials today and an apparent lack of concern about the difficulties heaped upon the stock market by the heated trade rhetoric between the US and China. That came with the USA considering duties on an additional $100 billion in goods imported from China. "The market has vacillated between writing it off as just talk and assuming there could be a serious problem", said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. "The statement added that China "doesn't want" a trade war, but is not afraid to fight one".

"Escalation of the U.S".

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow (, appearing on Bloomberg TV on Friday, said the administration was only considering adding "tariff pressures", and that he hoped there would be negotiations in the next couple of months.

The government reported that USA employers added 103,000 jobs in March, a weaker pace than the last few months.

The Fed is on track to raise rates three times this year, but it could speed up the increases to keep the economy from overheating. But the latest report on employment still shows the tightest labor market in almost two decades.

Many are in a panic over the recent escalation and some believe that China can handle a potential trade war far better than America can due to the nature of its government and economy.

"We view earnings growth as the single most important factor for equities and think that continued momentum should help move the market higher", Wilson said. Inc.'s stock (MRK), dropped 1.5%, after disappointing results of its melanoma drug.

With administration officials sounding conciliatory one day and more hostile the next and the president always quick to fire off another tweet, investors simply don't know what the US wants to achieve, said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management. The retailer also said it would overhaul its job-screening guidelines.

Apple Inc.(AAPL) shares slipped 1.4%.

What are other markets doing?

The Dow average, which contains numerous multinational companies including industrial powerhouses Boeing and Caterpillar, has swung dramatically this week, with about 1,300 points separating its lowest point Monday afternoon from its high late Thursday. Stocks gained in four straight sessions. Friday's jobs report failed to settle markets, as payrolls missed estimates and unemployment ticked up slightly in March, interrupting the market's rally from lows seen early in the week.

Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Netflix - collectively known as the "FANG" group - were up between 0.3 per cent and about 3 per cent.

  • Eleanor Harrison