US stocks dive amid trade tensions



NEW YORK - US stocks fell sharply on Friday as escalating trade tensions between China and the United States weighed on the Wall Street.

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 29, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased 572.46 points, or 2.34 percent, to 23,932.76. The S&P 500 decreased 58.38 points, or 2.19 percent, to 2,604.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 161.44 points, or 2.28 percent, to 6,915.11.

The VIX Index, which measures the market's expectation of future volatility, surged 13.09 to 21.42 in late trading.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to consider slapping 100 billion U.S. dollars of additional tariffs on China, ratcheting up trade tensions and plunging economic growth into uncertainty.

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange watches the stock market drop on his screen shortly before the closing bell in New York, US, April 6, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

China will fight "at any cost" and take "comprehensive countermeasures" if the United States continues its unilateral, protectionist practices, a spokesperson with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Friday.

The moves came after both sides earlier this week unveiled a list of products worth 50 billion U.S. dollars imported from the other side that will be subject to higher tariffs.

The disappointing nonfarm jobs report also dented investor sentiment. U.S. total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 in March, way below market consensus of an increase of 193,000 jobs, the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent in March.

Investors also paid close attention to the latest speech of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said on Friday that the central bank will likely need to keep raising interest rates to keep inflation under control.