10:40 AM, Mar 2, 2018 — The US benchmarks extended their run of losses into a fourth straight day as fears grew that President Donald Trump was sparking a trade war with tariffs on some metal imports.
In a Friday morning tweet a day after he pledged to impose 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminum, the president said “when a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
Markets had recovered much of their February losses but the week’s volatile trading sent them back down to multi-week lows. Losses on Friday were led by the Standard & Poor’s 500 financials, consumer discretionary and materials sectors while defensive sectors were higher, with utilities and telecoms rising.
On the Dow Jones Industrial Average, more than two thirds of the blue chips were losing ground, led by a 4% drop in McDonald’s (MCD) after RBC cut its price target on the stock by $20 to $170 and slashed expectations for US same-store sales.
The Nasdaq Composite was dented by JD.com’s (JD) 7.4% loss after its fourth quarter adjusted profit declined.
Also in company news, J.C. Penney (JCP) fell 10% after the apparel and home furnishings retailer posted fourth quarter results which missed analysts’ estimates on revenue but beat on earnings. Park Hotels & Resorts (PK) fell 4.8% after the real estate investment trust reported a year-on-year drop in fourth quarter adjusted funds from operations.
Gap (GPS) rose 6.7% after the clothes retailer said late Thursday fourth quarter results topped analysts’ views. Microsemi (MSCC) gained 4.5% after Microchip Technology (MCHP) said it would acquired the semiconductor company for $68.78 a share. Microchip was up 2.7%.
In morning trading, the Dow was down 1.2% while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both lost 0.6%.
Globally, the Nikkei 225 dropped 2.5%, the Hang Seng dropped 1.5%, the FTSE 100 lost 1.2% and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.6%.