Investing.com – Wall Street was flat on Thursday, as investor worry over a trade war was offset by better than expected unemployment data.
The S&P 500 was up half a point or 0.01% to 2,749.88 as of 9:44 AM ET (13:4 GMT) while the Dow composite increased 20 points or 0.08% to 24,778.72, and tech heavy NASDAQ Composite fell seven points or 0.10% to 7,489.23.
Trade war concerns have resurfaced among investors, as U.S. President Donald Trump considered imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports.
The news comes just a week after Trump imposed steep import tariffs on steel and aluminum, although Canada and Mexico are exempt as the administration seeks to negotiate a trade deal. More tariffs could increase fears of a global trade war and weigh on investor appetite for riskier assets.
In economic news, the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. fell by 4,000 to 226,000. Analysts had expected claims to fall to 230,000.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) was among the biggest gainers after the morning bell, rising 3.35% while Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) was up 1.14% after it said it wouldn’t pay any Australian corporate tax until 2021. Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG) surged 5.72% after reporting higher than expected same-store sales in the fourth quarter.
Elsewhere Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell 1.03% while Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) decreased 1.50% and Boeing (NYSE:BA) was down 1.76%, on track for its worst week in two years amid political uncertainty around trade policy. The airline maker does business around the world and investors are worried a trade war would negatively impact the firm.
In Europe stocks were mixed. In Germany the DAX rose 48 points or 0.39% while France’s CAC 40 increased 14 points or 0.27% and in London the FTSE 100 was down half a point or 0.01%. Meanwhile Spain’s IBEX 35 lost 20 points or 0.21% and the pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 inched up nine points or 0.28%.
In commodities, gold futures fell 0.54% to $1,318.30 a troy ounce while crude oil futures rose 0.33% to $61.16 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.22% to 89.95.