Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP
Stocks closed mixed Friday, surrendering earlier gains after Bloomberg reported President Donald Trump instructed his administration to follow through with tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — despite a fresh round of trade negotiations between the world's largest economies having been proposed days earlier.
Here's the scoreboard:
Dow Jones industrial average: 26,154.40 +8.41 (+0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,905.19 +1.01 (+0.04%)
Nasdaq Composite: 8,010.04−3.67 (-0.05%)
Shares of large-cap industrial stocks like Caterpillar (-0.6%) fell following the report. Boeing (+0.2%) pared gains after trading up more than 1%. Apple (-1.14%), which recently warned tariffs could force the company to raise prices, closed lower at $223.84 a share.
On the commodities front, oil prices shed nearly $1 per barrel as investors feared China could retaliate with its proposed 25% tariff on crude imports. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, gained 0.2% after falling below $68 a barrel. Brent was trading down 0.2% at $78.07.
Another round of US tariffs would bring the running total of targeted Chinese products to $250 billion, and is poised to affect consumers more than the levies already enacted.
Beijing, which was swift to counter Trump's first two rounds of tariffs in kind, has signaled it will retaliate against further trade escalations. While China doesn't import enough from the US to match the duties dollar-for-dollar, it could increase tariff rates or use qualitative measures like creating administrative headaches for American companies.
Elsewhere, the Commerce Department said retail sales increased by the smallest amount in six months at 0.1% in August, compared with economist expectations for a 0.4% gain. Other data out Friday showed import prices saw the largest drop in more than a year and a half in August, partly due to a decline in fuel costs and a rallying dollar.
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