Stock market falls over trade war, Facebook and rate hike fears – USA TODAY


USA TODAY’s Adam Shell tells us what to expect following the increase in interest rates on March 21. USA TODAY

U.S. stocks are having another rocky day with the Dow briefly falling 500 points amid growing Wall Street worries about a trade fight between the U.S. and its trading partners, rising interest rates and continued weakness in shares of Facebook and other tech stocks.

Around noon the Dow Jones industrial average was down about 2%, or 450 points, but off its low for the day when it was down more than 500 points. The tech-packed Nasdaq was off 1.8% and the broad Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index were off 1.6%.

Wall Street is bracing for an expected announcement on trade this afternoon from President Trump. He will declare that the U.S. will impose tariffs on many Chinese goods imported to the U.S., a move that has increased fears of a global trade war and retaliation from Beijing. 

Threat of a trade war topped the list of fears of money managers in a survey released Tuesday by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 

The market selloff  follows Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to boost its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point but keep its forecast for three hikes in 2018, not the four Wall Street had feared.

Still, investors appear to be balking at the Fed signaling that the pace of rate hikes could be quicker than anticipated in 2019 and beyond.

More: Why stock markets fear interest rate hikes from Federal Reserve

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Wall Street was also watching shares of social media giant Facebook closely after its CEO Mark Zuckerberg in media interviews focused on  the company’s data privacy controversy. He noted that Facebook had made mistakes and that he would consider appearing before Congress to address the breach.

Facebook shares, which are down more than 12% from its Feb. 1 high, were about 3%, lower early Thursday.

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