Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

USA stocks close sharply lower on rate worries

USA stocks close sharply lower on rate worries

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 46 points, or 1.7 per cent, at 2,667 as of 2:25 p.m.

In addition, reports covering US auto sales for February are scheduled to roll in throughout the day.

U.S. Steel was up $2.26, or 5.2 per cent, to $45.77, and AK Steel jumped 45 cents, or 6.5 per cent, to $5.50.

Technology companies and drugmakers also fell, as they make much of their revenue outside the USA and could be vulnerable if other countries respond with tariffs of their own.

Via his Twitter account, president Trump addressed these concerns by saying that "trade wars are good" when you are the country that is "losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with".

For the month, the Dow lost 4.3% and the S&P 500 fell 3.9%. But Trump, who has consistently supported protectionist measures for decades, may be willing or even eager to wage a tit-for-tat trade war. "He may be able to persuade his core voter base of that but investors are far from convinced, as was evident by the market reaction to the announcement [of import tariffs on steel and aluminum]", said Craig Erlam at Oanda.

"If the Federal Reserve raises rates more quickly than previously expected, then it's likely to put a damper on stocks in the near term".

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Richard Johnson, the retailer's chairman and chief executive said: "The dramatic shifts influencing the expectations and behaviors of our customers continued to affect our business in the fourth quarter, just as they have throughout 2017".

"If tariffs go up, it will, at the margin, tend to put more upward pressure on prices, and those upward pressure on prices will have to be considered by the monetary authority", New York Fed President William Dudley said in a speech in Brazil on Thursday.

April-dated crude futures fell $1.37, or 2.2%, to end at $61.64 per barrel, after domestic crude inventories rose more than expected.

At presstime oil is down 30 cents to $61.34 USA per barrel, gold is down 50 cents to $1317.40 ounce, and the loonie is up slightly to 77.95 cents U.S.

People walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 94 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $63.79 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell 70 cents today to close at $1,317.90 per ounce.

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