United States stocks waver amid economic data

Randal Sanchez
March 5, 2018

The S&P 500 added 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.6%. Investors wondered if that will lead to other countries putting up barriers that will hurt the global economy as well as profits for US exporters like Apple.

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.

The fall was largely driven by new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's unexpectedly hawkish tone on Tuesday where he presented an upbeat picture of the USA economy, opening up the option for more than three rate rises this year as inflation moves "up to target". The losses came in the wake of GDP data that underlined the economy's fundamental strength, although it also revived concerns that the economy was growing so quickly the Federal Reserve could become more aggressive in raising interest rates to combat an environment with higher inflation.

On the day, General Motors Co GM.N shares lost 4 percent, while Ford Motor Co F.N was down 3.0 percent.

Stocks had mostly traded lower before Trump's announcement.

Steel makers were sharply higher following reports that the government would announce tariffs on imported steel. Some traders took that as a signal that the Fed may raise rates more quickly than expected.

There could be more fireworks in the market on Thursday.

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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".

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.

Reuters is reporting NY regulators have asked lenders for information on Trump administration adviser Jared Kushner and his family's real estate company . The stock sank $4.67 to $57.73. Crude oil was again decidedly negative in the session.

Gold dropped $1.70, or 1 per cent, to $1,305.20 an ounce.

In the currency markets, the United States dollar was buoyed by Powell's comments, rising 0.3% on Wednesday to reach its second-best month of President Donald Trump's term, climbing 1.7% against a basket of currencies overall for the month. The euro inched up to $1.2205 from $1.2203, and the British pound slipped to $1.3732 from $1.3771.

People walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, March 1, 2018.

France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 per cent and Germany's DAX was down 2 per cent.

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