Markets Right Now: Plans for steel tariffs sink US stocks

FILE- This Oct. 2, 2014, file photo shows the Wall Street subway stop on Broadway in New York's Financial District. U.S. stocks sank sharply on Thursday, March 1, 2018, in another dizzying day of trading after President Donald Trump promised stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, which investors feared could lead to retaliation by other countries and higher inflation. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):

4 p.m.

Stocks fell sharply as investors worried that President Donald Trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminum will lead to retaliation from other countries.

Trump told industry executives Thursday he would impose the tariffs next week. The head of the European Commission said the region would respond in kind.

Industrial companies like Boeing and Caterpillar that use steel and aluminum fell sharply, as did exporters like Apple whose overseas sales could be hurt by a trade war. Steel makers rose.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 36 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,677.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 420 points, or 1.7 percent, to 24,608. The Nasdaq fell 92 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,180.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.80 percent.

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2 p.m.

Stocks are turning sharply lower in afternoon trading as talk of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum spook investors.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped as much as 500 points Thursday.

Industrial companies that would take a hit from higher steel and aluminum prices fell sharply.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar fell 2 percent and aerospace giant Boeing gave back 4 percent.

Big exporters like Apple and drugmaker Pfizer, which would suffer if trade tensions picked up, also fell.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 41 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,671. The benchmark index is coming off its worst month in two years.

The Dow was down 470 points, or 1.9 percent, at 24,554. The Nasdaq composite fell 127 points, or 1.8 percent, to 7,142.

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11:45 a.m.

Stocks wavered as investors dissected Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's latest comments for clues about the future path of interest rates.

Stocks flipped between modest losses and gains Thursday as Powell told a Senate committee that the central bank continues to plan a gradual rise in interest rates.

Dental supplies maker Patterson Companies plunged 22 percent after reporting weak earnings for the latest quarter.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,717. The benchmark index is coming off its worst month in two years.

The Dow Jones industrial average was little changed at 25,029. The Nasdaq composite was up 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,283.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.85 percent.

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9:35 a.m.

Losses in industrial and health care stocks are pulling major U.S. indexes lower in morning trading on Wall Street.

Dental products supplier Patterson Companies plunged 23 percent in the first few minutes of trading Thursday after issuing weak quarterly results. The company also said its chief financial officer will depart.

Steel makers were sharply higher following reports that the government would announce tariffs on imported steel. AK Steel jumped 10 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,710. The benchmark index is coming off its worst month in two years.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank 77 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,954. The Nasdaq fell 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,260.

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