Stocks gapped down at the open today (Dow -232 pts; SPX -.9%) after President Trump threatened new trade tariffs on Mexico. Ten of eleven major market sectors are down, led by communications services (-1.3%) and consumer staples (-1.1%). A number of key industry groups are down more than 1%, such as biotechs, retailers and transports. Not surprisingly, gold and gold mining stocks are up on the day. The VIX Index—a common measure of fear among traders—climbed back to 18.3. European markets closed down about 1% and Asia was mostly lower overnight. Interestingly, in the wake of higher trade tensions, China’s Shanghai Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index are down about the same in May, -5%. So we’re certainly not seeing any panic in global stock markets. Commodities are mostly lower in early trading. Gold is up about .9% but oil, copper and iron ire are falling in price. WTI crude oil is down 1.3% to trade at $55.35/barrel. Bonds are mostly higher—especially safe-haven Treasuries. After the Mexico tariff threat, the 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.17%, the lowest since September 2017.
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