Stocks close mostly lower as Wall Street braces for US-China trade war escalations

Stocks were mostly lower Thursday as trade concerns continued to loom over Wall Street. Tech resumed selling for a third straight session, a day after Congress grilled executives from Twitter and Facebook about political content and security measures. The dollar and Treasury yields fell.

Here’s the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average: 25,996.38 +21.39 (+0.082%)

S&P 500:2,879.51 −9.09 (-0.31%)

Nasdaq Composite: 7,922.73 −72.45 (-0.91%)

  1. The Trump administration is expected to follow through with tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese products after a public comment period ends Thursday. Beijing has vowed to retaliate against the action, which is slated to hit more consumer products than previous duties. Ahead of the anticipated announcement, businesses have been preparing for financial pain.
  2. Progress remains elusive after the US and Canada held a second day of trade negotiations. In last-ditch efforts to modernize NAFTA, high-level trade officials have yet to resolve key issues like tariffs on dairy products and a dispute settlement procedure. Last week, Trump threatened to hit Canada with duties on auto imports and to exclude the country from a trade agreement with Mexico.
  3. The weekly unemployment rate in the US fell to nearly a five-decade low. The Labor Department said jobless claims dropped by about 10,000 last week to 203,000, the lowest since December 1969. Monthly employment numbers are scheduled for release Friday.
  4. CBS board members are reportedly in talks to negotiate an exit deal for the company’s embattled chief executive Leslie Moonves and asking for autonomy from its controlling shareholder. The board appointed law firms to investigate the CEO after the New Yorker published a story detailing sexual harassment allegations against Moonves, whose interim replacement is expected to be chief operating officer Joe Ianniello. Shares of the company jumped more than 3% following the news.

And a look at the upcoming economic calendar:

  • Employment numbers are out in the US and Canada.
  • China releases trade balance data.