Wall Street stocks flat as US, China tariffs hit

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York June 4, 2018. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, July 6 — Wall Street stocks were little changed early today following a solid US jobs report and the start of a long-anticipated trade war between the US and China.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 per cent to 24,336.89.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent to 2,740.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 per cent to 7,614.44.

The US economy added 213,000 new jobs for the month, well above analyst expectations, according to the monthly Labor Department report.

The unemployment rate rose 0.2 points to four per cent as more Americans sought work. Wage growth was muted.

Analysts described the report as favourable to stocks because it indicated US growth remains on track but has not spurred the kind of inflation that would demand a more aggressive response from the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, the US and then China launched tit-for-tat tariffs on imports, the opening shots in what could erupt into a major trade war.

The tariffs “shouldn’t come as any surprise since there was no indication before midnight that the imposition of the tariffs would be deferred or cancelled,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.

Among individual companies, Biogen shot up 18.8 per cent after announcing positive clinical results for a new treatment for early Alzheimer’s disease. — AFP

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