Moneybeat: Wall Street’s lousy week

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. Today is Monday, March 26th. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s time now for the Monday Moneybeat.

It was the worst week on Wall Street for blue-chip stocks since January of 2016.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell all the way back to the level it reached in November of last year. President Trump last Thursday signaled he’s ready to lay tariffs on $60 billion worth of Chinese imports. Then China followed up with its list of U.S. goods for possible retaliation.

ABLIN: The prospect of entering into a huge trade dispute with China, historically our largest purchaser of U.S. treasury securities, has probably sent jitters around the equity and bond markets.

Jack Ablin is chief investment strategist at Cresset Wealth Advisors. Investors seem concerned that a trade war between the two biggest economies in the world could set back all the gains they’ve enjoyed as the result of Trump policies.

Stocks sagged at the start of this month after the president spoke of tariffs on aluminum and steel. But they quickly recovered as the administration said the tariffs wouldn’t be as severe as they first appeared.

The losses this week on Wall Street were much worse, though. Investors are hoping for hints the sanctions on China are more of a negotiating tactic.

Hog producers in Iowa, apple growers in Washington state, and winemakers in California, they make up a key political constituency for Trump. But they are also among those most deeply concerned about a trade war, because they have so much to lose.

Jim Monroe of the National Pork Producers Council:

MONROE: China is a significant market for U.S. pork. Last year it was the second-largest export market based on volume, the third largest based on value or profitability. We exported over a billion dollars of pork product to China, so it’s definitely a concern.

Monroe says his group is urging the White House to reduce trade barriers.

REICHARD: So here are the numbers: The Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index fell 6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq off 6.5 percent.

The Dow plunged more than 1,413 points. That’s a decline of 5.7 percent for the week. The smaller-company Russell 2000 index lost 4.8 percent.

This week’s losses put all the indexes, except the Nasdaq, into negative territory for 2018.

EICHER: And that’s this week’s Monday Moneybeat.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew) A television screen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones industrial average, Thursday, March 22, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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