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While you were sleeping: Wall St mixed as it eyes inflation data, trade moves

Tuesday 13th March 2018

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Wall Street was mixed, with the Dow and the S&P 500 giving up earlier gains, as investors eyed the latest inflation data scheduled for release this week as well as further trade negotiations prompted by the new US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

A US Labour Department report due Tuesday will probably show that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in February from the previous month, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Excluding food and energy, prices were projected to advance 0.2 percent following a bigger-than-forecast 0.3 percent increase in January.

In 1.01pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 percent. However, the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 percent. In 1.14pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index inched 0.04 percent lower.

“You still have the tariff fears kind of circling in the markets,” Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W Baird in Milwaukee, told Reuters.

Indeed, the European Union told US President Donald Trump it won’t be cowed by his escalating protectionist rhetoric and talk of punitive tariffs, Bloomberg reported. 

“Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will be speaking with representatives of the European Union about eliminating the large Tariffs and Barriers they use against the USA,” Trump tweeted. “Not fair to our farmers and manufacturers.”

The US dollar fell, while Treasuries moved higher, sending the yield on the 10-year note one basis point lower to 2.88 percent.

“With earnings season wrapped up, tax reform launched, and steel and aluminum tariffs to take effect soon, investors will have plenty to ponder,” John Stoltzfus, the chief investment strategist of Oppenheimer & Co, wrote in a note to clients Monday, Bloomberg reported. 

“We believe patience, fortitude and an eye for opportunities that could present themselves as interest rates work through the process of normalisation, trade negotiations garner attention and equity markets respond to it all, could prove rewarding,” Stoltzfus noted.

The Dow fell as declines in shares of Boeing and those of Caterpillar, down 2.6 percent and 2 percent respectively recently, outweighed gains in shares of Apple and those of General Electric, recently up 1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, Dropbox filed for an initial public offering that would value the file-sharing company between US$7 billion and US$8 billion. That compares with a US$10 billion valuation during the company’s private capital raising in 2014. Dropbox will issue 36 million shares at a price of between US$16 and US$18 each, it said in a regulatory filing.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 0.2 percent increase from the previous close.  Germany’s DAX Index rose 0.6 percent and France’s CAC40 Index eked out a 0.04 percent gain.

The UK’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.1 percent.



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