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US stocks end mixed amid trade war fears

Mar 04 2018 10:37

New York - Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Friday as bargain hunting of technology shares offset worries of a trade war after President Donald Trump vowed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and many other goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.3% at 24 538.06, its fourth straight decline.

But the other two leading indices ended their three-day losing streaks.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.5% to end the week at 2 691.25, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.1% to 7 257.87

Equity markets across Asia and Europe fell steeply following Trump's announcement Thursday of the tariffs, which was followed Friday by a series of provocative statements on Twitter that seemed to invite a trade war.

US stocks also opened sharply lower before reversing course, with the Nasdaq gaining the most momentum as the session progressed.

"You had a pretty big downdraft yesterday for this and we still don't know the details," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

"None of it is going to be good, but the devil is in the details," Hogan said of the proposed tariffs.

JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said "a trade war benefits no one," and he was hopeful threats of retaliation by US trading partners may not become a reality.

"Everyone realizes a trade war doesn't do anyone any good, so if it's scaled down considerably, maybe the other countries condemn it but don't necessarily do anything about it," Kinahan said.

Technology shares with big gains included Netflix, up 3.7%, video game developer Electronic Arts, up 2.4% and eBay, up 1.6%. Apple, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet also rose.

Dow members Boeing and Caterpillar dropped 1.4% and 2.6%, respectively, continuing Thursday's selloff of some multinationals on worries about a trade war.

But other big exporters, including General Electric and Johnson & Johnson were positive.

McDonald's, another blue-chip company, sank 4.8% after RBC Capital markets lowered its target price on the company due to lackluster sales of its latest "value meal" promotion.

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