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US benchmarks close higher as Trump pushes on with tariff plans

A look at the US and Canadian markets throughout the session
The president;s controversial plans for steel and aluminium imports are going ahead
  • US stocks close higher

  • Non-farm payrolls tomorrow

  • President Trump outlines tariff plans

US stocks closed higher as President Trump pushes on with his steel and aluminium tariff plans.

The Nasdaq finished higher for the fifth straight day in a row, up 31 at 7,427. The S&P 500 added over 12 at 2,738 and the Dow Jones was  up over 93 at 24,895.

In Toronto, the TSX gained over 54 points at 15,526.

Trump has alienated many with his plans to reinvigorate US industry and protect national security, with critics slamming his protectionist economic stance.


The largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) to track the metals and mining sector fell as the White House outlined the details - there will be tariffs coming into effect in 15 days of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum.


Canada and Mexico will be excluded for now, as the US discusses its relationships and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)  with both.

The SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF sank 1.9%, with metal companies leading the way lower.

United States Steel Corp (NYSE:X) shed 2.93% to US$44.35, AK Steel Holding Corp (NYSE:AKS) lost 4.05% to US$5.45.

Century Aluminum Co (NASDAQ:CENX) tanked 7.48% to US$19.66.



US stocks were mixed at mid-session as fears over trade wars eased and traders began to eye the key US  non-farm payrolls report tomorrow.

The Dow Jones is down nearly 41 points at 24,760, while the S&P 500 is up 1.37.

The Nasdaq is up over 17 points at 7,414.

On US jobs, economists expect the data to show US employers added 205,000 jobs in February after 200,000 in January.

The unemployment rate is forecast to fall to 4.0% from 4.1% while average hourly earnings are estimated to grow by 0.2% month-on-month and 2.8% year-on-year.

A strong jobs report is likely to fuel bets that the US Federal Reserve may increase interest rates at a much-faster pace than previously expected.

Fed boss Jerome Powell has already hinted that more US rate hikes than currently anticipated could be on the cards.

Among the movers, Immuron Limited  (NASDAQ:IMRN) jumped over 73% to US$14.68 after the company released positive results in NASH clinical trial.

On the losing front, Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT) lost over 62% to US$2.52 as the biotech revealed its Phase 3 GLOBE study did not meet its pre-specified primary endpoint of overall survival.

Top-line results released on Thursday revealed VB-111 did not meet its primary endpoint of overall survival – the length of time from the start of a treatment that patients are still alive.


US stocks started on the front foot on Thursday, as the Dow Jones added over 107 points at 24,908.

The broader-based SA&P 500 index added over eight points at 2,735.

The tech heavy Nasdaq index added over 27 points to  7,424.

Investors appeared less worried about the prospect of a trade war prompted by President Trump, expecting the recently announced tariffs to be watered down to exempt major trading partners such as Canada and Mexico, according to some reports.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a decree that lays out his plan for levies on steel and aluminium imports this week later today.

US crude, West Texas Intermediate, is down 0.47% to US$60.85 a barrel.

In Toronto, the TSX added  over 13 points to stand at 15,486.

In stocks,  Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) was a notable loser, down over 10% to  US$23.55 each as the company  agreed to sell its convenience store business to UK-based petrol station operator EG Group for US$2.15bn.

The US supermarket chain will focus on its mainstay grocery business and will use the proceeds from the sale to buy back shares and reduce debt.

Express Scripts ( NASDAQ:ESRX) was a notable gainer, flying up almost 12% to US$82 as Cigna agreed to buy the firm for US$67bn.

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