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The Dow Jones today opened more than 250 points lower after U.S. President Donald Trump signaled that his administration will introduce heavy tariffs on steel aluminum imports. The president's announcement sent the Dow plunging 420 points yesterday, as fears of an international trade war shook the market.
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Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus Friday's economic calendar.
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The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Markets are in turmoil after President Trump tweeted his support for trade wars. This morning, Trump tweeted that "Trade wars are good, and easy to win." Many experts agree that the president's proposed policy is misguided – despite the president's certainty that steel tariffs will boost the U.S. industry, they will likely act as large tax placed on the shoulders of consumers. In addition, other nations are likely to retaliate and implement their own tariffs in an effort to target specific U.S. exports to their markets.
- Today, British Prime Minister Theresa May will give a major speech on the UK's vision for Brexit, stirring fears over the stability of the Eurozone. May's speech will likely focus on the United Kingdom's desire for a new trade agreement with the European Union. However, critics are concerned that trade will not be – as May intends – as "frictionless as possible" due to the UK's reluctance to stay in the EU Customs Union.
- Gold prices pressed higher due to global concerns about the potential for a trade war. The price of gold topped $1,322 on Friday after retreating earlier this week over rising expectations for interest rate hikes in 2018. Should the Trump administration implement its proposed tariffs, gold prices are likely to surge. Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth believes that gold is heading to $1,400 by the middle of 2018. However, with the president's tariffs, it could surge to at least $1,500 by December.
- Crude oil prices are on pace for a weekly loss, as markets continue to eye rising U.S. production and higher inventory levels. Oil also reacted negatively to the talk of new tariffs. WTI crude oil price today dipped 0.5%, while Brent crude fell 0.5%.
Stocks to Watch Today: JCP, KR, AOBC
- Shares of J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) are on the move this morning after the retail giant fell short of earnings expectations before the bell. Wall Street expected earnings per share of $0.45 on top of $4.035 billion in revenue. JCP shares dipped 9% after the company announced plans to slash another 360 jobs at its corporate headquarters.
- Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is the latest company to announce plans to require would-be gun buyers to be at least 21 years of age at its subsidiary that sells guns. The news follows similar announcements by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) earlier this week. The decision comes in the wake of a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that has generated a significant backlash against the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers.
- Shares of American Outdoor Brands Corp. (Nasdaq: AOBC) plunged 13% after the company's quarterly sales fell well short of Wall Street expectations. Trading of the stock was suspended yesterday afternoon when the lackluster performance was announced. The parent company of Smith & Wesson announced that its sales were well below forecasts due to increased discussion over stricter gun regulations in Washington and at the state level.
- Additional companies reporting earnings on Friday include Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL), JD.com Inc. (Nasdaq: JD), and Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG).
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
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