US Stock Markets on a Roller Coaster Ride

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At the close, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 424.69 points, or 1.77 percent, to 23,533.20, marking the record low closing price since the Feb 8 steep sell-off. The broader Standard and Poor’s 500 decreased 55.43 points, or 2.10 percent, to 2,588.26. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was down 174.01 points, or 2.43 percent, to 6,992.67, the first time with the closing price under the key psychological level of 7,000 points since Feb 12.

All three benchmark indices suffered their worst weekly performance since Jan 2016. Over the week, the Dow, the S and P, and the Nasdaq slumped 5.67 percent, 5.95 percent and 6.54 percent, respectively.

Despite strong warnings from business groups and trade experts, US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion U.S. dollars of imports from China, in a unilateral move that triggered market selloff.

According to the presidential memorandum, Trump has directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to publish a list of proposed Chinese goods that could be subject to tariffs in 15 days, while the U.S. Treasury Department will have 60 days to propose restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.

The Chinese Embassy in the United States said in response that “It is a typical unilateral trade protectionist action. China is strongly disappointed and firmly opposes such an action.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Friday urged the United States to “pause on the brink of a precipice” and make prudent decisions so as not to put bilateral trade relations in jeopardy.

China will not sit idly watching its legitimate rights and interests being damaged under any circumstance, the spokesperson said, “We are fully prepared to firmly defend our interests.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday reaffirmed its position on the U.S. trade moves, saying that China will fight to the end in any trade war.

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