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While you were sleeping: Wall St, Treasuries gain as Trump turns to NAFTA

Tuesday 6th March 2018

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Wall Street gained amid bets that US President Donald Trump might not go ahead with plans to impose big tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, decreasing the spectre of a global trade war. 

On Monday Trump turned his attention to Canada and Mexico, saying “tariffs on steel and aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed.”

“We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for USA,” Trump tweeted. “Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must treat our farmers much better. Highly restrictive.”

In 1.25pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.2 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.1 percent. In 1.10pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 1 percent. 

“The positive story today is the lack of anything bad happening,” Kevin Caron, a senior portfolio manager as Washington Crossing Advisors, told Bloomberg. “The bad news would have been if [Trump] announced more tariffs, or if there was some kind of reciprocal action from another country.”

US Treasuries rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year note three basis points lower to 2.84 percent.

“There has been a lot of conflicting information in terms of [administration’s] plans and it’s leading to some back and forth movement in the market,” Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey, told Reuters. “Nobody wants to take a big position to sell, only to find the administration change its mind.”

The Dow advanced, led by gains in shares of Caterpillar and those of General Electric, recently up 3 percent and 2.8 percent respectively. Shares of Nike slid, down 1.2 percent recently, and was the only stock in the Dow to move lower. 

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 1 percent gain from the previous close. Germany’s DAX Index rallied 1.5 percent, while the UK’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.7 percent, and France’s CAC40 Index gained 0.6 percent.

In Brazil, shares of BRF sank, down more than 17 percent. Brazilian federal police said on Monday they arrested the former chief executive of food processor BRF on charges that he and other executives were aware that the company committed fraud in trying to evade food safety checks, Reuters reported.

Brazilian investigators said BRF started acting to evade food safety checks in 2012, with the practice possibly continuing through 2017, according to Reuters. 

Pedro Faria, BRF's chief executive between 2015 and 2017, was one of several people targeted in the new phase of the probe and had been taken into custody in Curitiba, Paraná, police said, according to Reuters. 

(BusinessDesk)

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