U.S stocks fell sharply on Friday’s opening as investors fear the impact of President Trump ’s plan to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down than 340 points, or 1.3 percent, within an hour of Friday trading. The Nasdaq and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes were each down roughly 1 percent in the same time.
Trump announced Thursday that he plans to impose tariffs next week of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. He said the tariffs were essential to protect U.S. jobs and fight back against foreign rivals flooding the market with cheap metal.
The tariffs were almost universally panned by Republican lawmakers, who have been fighting Trump on his protectionist trade policies. The tariffs are widely expected to lead to retaliation from U.S. trade partners.
Stocks slid after Trump’s announcement, with automakers and jet builders leading the losses. The Dow lost 420 points on the day, a 1.7 percent decline, while the Nasdaq and S&P closed down roughly 1.3 percent each.
Stocks were already fading Thursday, but Trump’s announcement triggered a quicker fall. The Dow fell as much as 580 points following the announcement shortly after 2 p.m. The Nasdaq and the S&P also fell roughly 1.8 percent each.
All three major indexes were still above their yearly lows set during a massive sell-off during the end of January through the start of February. After a year of record-busting gains, the stock market has been much volatile in 2018, reflecting concerns about potentially tightening financial conditions.
Trump said Friday morning that the U.S. economy would be stronger thanks to the new tariff regime, insisting that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”
When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade any-we win big. It’s easy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
GOP lawmakers and industries that would pay for raw materials under the tariffs said the taxes would cost U.S. jobs and hinder manufacturing.