Stocks finished firmly lower Friday as disappointing trade headlines pressured investor sentiment. China announced retaliatory tariffs on 5% to 10% of another $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, including a resumption of a 25% levy on automobiles. President Trump responded by urging U.S. companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China,” saying he would officially respond as early as Friday afternoon. The Dow fell 623 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each lost 2.6% and 3% respectively. The major averages erased earlier gains to post a fourth straight weekly decline, with the S&P 500 sliding 1.4%. For the week, the Dow lost 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 1.8%.
Treasuries rallied on Friday as perceived safe haven assets caught a bid. The yield on the 10-year note dropped nine basis points to 1.52%. In commodities, WTI crude slumped 2.1% to $54.17/barrel. COMEX gold jumped 2% to $1,526.60/ounce amid a weaker U.S. dollar. On the data front, new home sales slipped 12.8% in July, while the prior month’s figure was upwardly revised to reflect a 20.9% gain.
Fed commentary also remained in focus as the annual Jackson Hole central bank symposium was underway. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reaffirmed his belief that the U.S. economy remains in a “favorable place.” Amid the presence of “significant risks,” Powell reiterated the intention to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”
In earnings, Salesforce.com added 2.3% after the cloud provider topped analyst revenue projections and raised its forward guidance.