Close Update: Stocks Gain Ground as Trump Signs Watered-Down Trade Proclamation

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief late Thursday as President Donald Trump's trade restrictions on imported steel and aluminium included provisions to exclude Canada and Mexico as well as negotiable terms for US trade partners. Ahead of the 3:30pm ET announcement, stocks regained positive ground and closed with solid gains for the major market averages.

Stocks were buffeted during the day on conflicting reports surrounding the terms of Trump's trade recommendations, specifically whether or not Canada and Mexico would be excluded. The major averages were all in the plus column at the open on the heels of a larger-than-expected increase in jobless claims, but retreated when reports circulated that Trump would not allow for "carve-outs" for specific trading partners, as well as rumblings that protectionist advocate Peter Navarro was being considered for economic advisor Gary Cohn's job.

Ahead of the close, the markets braced for the president's "proclamation" on tariffs only to find that most of the terms are negotiable to major trade partners, and will not be implemented for 15 days providing ample time for concessions.

Related markets reflected the pivot back towards risk-on trades with Treasury yields regaining lost ground from Wednesday's close, and gold losing value for a second day. The volatility index was underwater for a fifth consecutive day and at its lowest level in seven days.

Looking ahead to Friday, trade will take a back seat to the monthly labor market report at 8:30am ET. Non-farm payrolls are expected to increase 205,000 in February, driving the jobless rate to 4.0%. The closely-watched average hourly earnings component should show a very modest 0.2% gain versus a 0.3% increase in wages in January.

Here's where the markets stood at the close:


Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 93.85 points (+0.38%)

S&P 500 was up 12.17 points (+0.45%)

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31.30 points (+0.42%)


FTSE 100 was up 0.63%

Nikkei 225 was unchanged

Hang Seng Index was up 1.52%

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.54%


(+) IMRN (+64.73%) Reported positive results in NASH clinical trial

(+) PCMI (+37.04%) Reported positive Q4 reults

(+) ESRX (+8.58%) To be acquired by Cigna ( CI ) in deal worth $67 billion


(-) VBLT (-61.03%) Phase 3 GLOBE trial did not meet primary endpoint

(-) HOV (-4.39%) Reported a loss for Q1 missing expectations, revenue drops from year ago

(-) BREW (-3.41%) Beat Q4 EPS and revenue estimates but shipments were down 5.6%

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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