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International markets roundup

NEW YORK: US stocks dropped about two per cent on Friday, with the Dow falling more than 570 points, as US President Donald Trump's latest tariff threat on Chinese imports fuelled increasing concern over a US trade war with China.

Stocks added to losses and hit session lows in afternoon trading after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US central bank will likely need to keep hiking interest rates to keep inflation under control and said it was too soon to know if rising trade tensions would hit the US economy.

Fears of a trade war since Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports more than a month ago have kept investors on edge over concerns that such protectionist measures would hit global economic growth.

"It's a reaction to concerns about the administration's approach to trade. The market has vacillated between writing it off as just talk and assuming there could be a serious problem," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Trump late Thursday threatened to slap $US100 billion more in tariffs on Chinese imports, while Beijing said it was fully prepared to respond with a "fierce counter strike".

US companies seen as more likely to be hit by trade tensions with China were among the biggest drags on the Dow, including Boeing, down 3.1 per cent. The S&P 500 industrials index, down 2.7 per cent, had the biggest losses among sectors, though selling was broad-based.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 572.46 points, or 2.34 per cent, to 23,932.76, the S&P 500 lost 58.37 points, or 2.19 per cent, to 2,604.47 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 161.44 points, or 2.28 per cent, to 6,915.11.

Before the session started, a Labor Department report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by a smaller-than-expected 103,000 last month. While annual growth in average hourly earnings rose to 2.7 per cent, it stayed below the three per cent that economists estimate is needed to lift inflation toward the Federal Reserve's two-per cent target.

LONDON: The latest salvo in a trade row between the U.S. and China weighed on Britain's FTSE 100 on Friday, though the damage was limited as mining and bank stocks fell while utilities made gains.

President Donald Trump upped the ante by directing US officials to consider tariffs on a further $US100 billion of Chinese imports.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the session down 0.2 per cent at 7,183.64 points, but outperformed the broader European equity market slightly.

The STOXX Europe index of companies in 17 European countries fell 0.35 per cent, with the trade-exposed auto sector the leading sectoral loser, down 1.7 per cent.

Germany DAX 30 index was down 0.52 per cent, and France's CAC 40 fell 0.35 per cent.

TOKYO: Asian stocks declined in a knee-jerk reaction to Trump's latest tariff proposal but regained a measure of calm following Wall Street's strong performance overnight.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.25 per cent. The index has spent the week swinging wildly in and out of negative territory amid the back-and-forth of the US-China trade dispute.

South Korea's KOSPI lost 0.3 per cent. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.36 per cent.

WELLINGTON: On Friday, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.33 per cent, to 8,393.27.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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