Stocks plunged in early trading on Friday as President Trump surprised investors by slapping new tariffs on Mexico over illegal migration, sending measures firmly into the red on the new injection of trade-related uncertainty.
Late Thursday, Trump said an escalating series of tariffs on all imports from Mexico would start next month unless the southern neighbor takes steps to stop illegal migrants from entering the US through its border. Stocks from car makers to clothing companies and railroads retreated amid worries about how the levies will impact their business.
Ford (F) fell 3% and General Motors (GM) shed 4.4%. Mexican cement producer CEMEX (CX) fell 3.8% beverage company Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOF) fell 2.2%. Kansas City Southern (KSU) sank 6.4%.
Nearly all of the blue chips on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were in the red, with only McDonald’s (MCD) clinging to a slim 0.3% gain. Dow (DOW) sank 3.5% and Verizon (VZ) fell 2.8% in the sharpest declines. On the Standard & Poor’s 500, all 11 sectors were in the red, with materials shedding 1.7% and communication services falling 1.8% in the steepest declines.
“Quite frankly I don’t have conviction toward which path we’re ultimately headed down, but in the face of doubt, de-risking first and asking questions later is sensible as developments are monitored,” said Derek Holt, vice president and head of capital markets economics at Scotiabank Economics.
In company news, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) jumped 12% after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results late Thursday. Okta (OKTA) gained 10% as it widened its quarterly net loss, but the result was ahead of the Street consensus.
Dell Technologies (DELL) sank 13% after the company reported mixed fiscal first-quarter results with earning ahead of Street views but revenue that missed. The Gap (GPS) also retreated 13% after the retailer’s quarterly results missed on both earnings and revenue, and offered downbeat guidance.
The economic calendar had the personal consumption expenditure price index rising an as-expected 0.3% in April, with the core up 0.2%, also meeting views among analysts polled by Econoday.
In morning trading, the Nasdaq was down 1.2%, the S&P 500 fell 1.1% and the Dow was 1% lower.
Globally, the FTSE 100 fell 0.9%, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.6%, the Hang Seng lost 0.8% and the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2%.
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