Stock Futures Spiral as Trump Fans the Trade War Flames

The Dow is set for a fourth straight down day

Mar 2, 2018 at 9:10 AM
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Futures are signaling another negative session for U.S. stocks, following yesterday's third straight drop of at least 1% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) -- the longest such stretch since January 2016. After President Donald Trump announced plans to impose new steel and aluminum tariffs, he tweeted, "When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, easy to win." Against this backdrop, the major market indexes -- both at home and overseas -- are swimming in red ink.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • How options traders tripled their money on U.S. Steel.
  • Netflix's new British partner failed to boost the FAANG stock.
  • This stock got slammed by a cryptocurrency probe.
  • Plus, the tech stock surging after earnings, more holiday sales woes for J.C. Penney, and an exchange rivalry heads to court.

Stock Futures Chart March 2

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.1 million call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 791,509 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.72, and the 21-day moving average ticked up to 0.67. 
  2. Ambarella Inc (NASDAQ:AMBA) has rallied 5.5% ahead of the bell after topping analysts' fourth-quarter profit and revenue expectations. In response, Stifel upped its AMBA price target to $64 from $62, while Deutsche Bank lowered its target on the stock to $51 from $53. AMBA could be on pace today to challenge resistance at its 30-day moving average, docked at $49.03, which hasn't been surmounted on a daily closing basis since prior to the equity's Jan. 10 bear gap.
  3. Elsewhere in corporate earnings, retailer J.C. Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) exceeded fourth-quarter profit estimates, but the department store's quarterly revenue and same-store sales for the all-important holiday season missed the mark. JCP has plunged 8.2% in electronic trading, and -- after snapping a brief win streak above its 200-day moving average on Thursday -- is now on pace to test emerging support at its 80-day trendline, located at $3.46.
  4. Nasdaq Inc (NASDAQ:NDAQ) has filed a lawsuit against rival IEX Group that accuses the upstart exchange operator of infringing on seven of its patents. The litigation, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, seeks to halt IEX from using the technology without a license, with Nasdaq looking for unspecified compensation. NDAQ, which has gained nearly 12% year-over-year, is quiet ahead of the open.
  5. The consumer sentiment report and earnings from Big Lots (BIG), Foot Locker (FL), (JD), and Olympic Steel (ZEUS) are coming out today. Meanwhile, next week's economic schedule is highlighted by the nonfarm payrolls report for February.

stock market news march 2

Global Markets Reel on Trump Tariffs

Asian markets finished lower across the board on Friday, selling off drastically after Trump's tariff warning. Predictably, the losses were especially brutal for steel names like Japan's Kobe Steel and South Korea's Posco, aluminum producers like China's Chalco, and automakers including Honda and Toyota. Japan's Nikkei shed 2.5%, while the South Korean Kospi closed 1% lower, led by a 2.2% drop from tech giant Samsung. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell by 1.5%, and China's Shanghai Composite closed 0.6% lower.

It's been a similar bloodbath in Europe, with stocks sinking amid concerns of trade war. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the group will set forth proposed World Trade Organization-compatible countermeasures within a few days, while German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel commented to Reuters that "we need to do everything possible to avoid an international trade war." Elsewhere, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will speak later today, outlining her administration's plan for England's post-Brexit relationship with the European Union.  At last check, London's FTSE 100 was down 1.2%, Germany's DAX is down 2.5%, and the French CAC 40 is 2.1% lower.


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