US, Chinese markets unruffled as Trump's trade war kicks off

It might be the trade war of the century, but US and Asian markets were not rattled by the formal start of the US-China trade war on Friday.

US indices rose today (see table below) as investors looked past President Trump's just-initiated trade war with China to positive employment data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 99.74 points, or 0.4%, to 24456.48. The S&P 500 added 23.21 points, or 0.8%, to 2759.82 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 101.96 points, or 1.3%, to 7688.39.

The Shanghai and Hong Kong indices, and broader Asian markets, were also in the green.

Today's gains means Wall Street is in positive territory for the week, if still down for the calendar year.

For the week, the Dow industrials added 0.8%, while the S&P 500 notched a 1.5% gain and the Nasdaq posted a 2.4% advance, its biggest one-week rise since May.

However, some firms like to be hit by the trade war posted declines. Caterpillar and Boeing fell for the fourth week in a row.

Friday saw the Trump administration slap tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports valued collectively at around $US34b a year. 

China immediately implemented retaliatory tariffs on US imports worth roughly the same amount per annum.

President Donald Trump has threatened to extend tariffs to $US200 billion of Chinese imports (the US imports around $US500 billion in goods from China each year). That would make it America's biggest trade war since the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, at the start of what's now known as the Great Depression.

 

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