U.S. Index Futures Off Lows Amid U.S., China War of Words

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. equity futures pared losses after tumbling Thursday evening in New York as President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese products. China said in response that it would counter U.S. protectionism “to the end, and at any cost.”

S&P 500 Index futures fell as much as 1.6 percent, before trimming the drop to 0.7 percent. Futures contracts on the Dow Jones tumbled 1.9 percent and Nasdaq declined as much as 1.7 percent, before staging partial rallies.

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs,” Trump said in a statement.

Global equity markets have been roiled in recent weeks as investors fear an escalation in the tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies will crimp growth. Beijing on Wednesday proposed 25 percent duties on a swath of U.S. agricultural products and other products ranging from aircraft to chemicals in retaliation to Washington’s tariffs on China’s high-tech goods. After Trump ordered his administration to consider tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods, China’s Commerce Ministry said Friday that the nation doesn’t want a trade war, but is ready to fight one.

U.S. Index Futures Off Lows Amid U.S., China War of Words

POLITICS/ECONOMY:

  • Fed Chair Jay Powell speaks on the economic outlook followed by San Francisco chief John Williams, who will soon take over the New York Fed.
  • The U.S. jobless rate probably fell to 4% in March after holding at 4.1 percent for five straight months. Non-farm payrolls probably rose by 185,000 in March after outsized job creation of 313,000 in February.

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