The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened close to 500 points lower Wednesday morning, a roughly 2 percent drop.
Stocks start lower but have pared opening bell losses and nowhere near the bloodbath levels indicated by the futures markets overnight; Dow -0.4%, S&P -0.3%, Nasdaq -0.2%.
Amid the focus on trade relations, the Commerce Department released a report showing the US trade deficit widened by more than anticipated in the month of February.
With the Dow and 10-year yields testing support near the tops of 70-year and 25-year channels in the first chart and the Dow and S&P testing support at each (2) in the second chart, if these support lines would break to the downside, don't be surprised if selling pressure picks up.
Last month, President Trump imposed $50 billion tariffs on China for what he called "the country's theft on American technology". China earlier said no talks were ongoing. While the annual growth in average hourly earnings rose to 2.7 percent, it stayed below the 3-percent that economists estimate is needed to lift inflation toward the Federal Reserve's 2-percent target.
The speed with which the trade spat between Washington and Beijing is ratcheting up - the Chinese government took less than 11 hours to respond with its own measures - led to a sharp sell-off in global stock markets and commodities.
As has been the case since the trade war fears surfaced, industrials were the worst hit. Oil prices fell nearly 5 percent this week as investors wondered if an increase in trade tensions will reduce demand for oil by slowing down the global economy.
The government reported that USA employers added 103,000 jobs in March, a weaker pace than the last few months. Apple lost 1.4 percent and Boeing fell 2.6 percent. The S&P 500 fell 0.31 per cent to 2,654.7 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.26 per cent to 7,058.23.
Hilton Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 1.25X Shares (NYSEARCA:LLSP) by 77.7% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. While the UK's FTSE 100 Index crept up by 0.1%, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.2% and the German DAX Index fell by 0.4%.