Dow drops more than 500 points on trade worries

Corporate Earnings Feb 28

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,710.

Major U.S. stock indexes are rising in early trading led by gains in the technology and retail sectors.

Industrial companies like Boeing and Caterpillar that use steel and aluminum fell sharply, as did exporters like Apple whose overseas sales could be hurt by a trade war. "But this is exactly what candidate Trump said he would do: He said he would be very protectionist and America First". The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.89 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7,284.90.

The Cboe Volatility Index.VIX, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term volatility of the S&P 500 index .SPX, closed up 1.26 at 19.85, its highest close in a week. It had only four such days past year.

The S&P 500 slipped less than a point to 2,743. It's the latest dizzying swing in a whirlwind week as investors recalibrate - again and again - how anxious to be about a possible trade war and a more aggressive Federal Reserve.

Overall the Dow .DJI lost 343.7 points, or 1.4 percent, the S&P 500 .SPX 29.03 points, or 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC 77.10 points, or 1.1 percent.

As a candidate, Trump campaigned on an "America First" trade policy, and a big fear for investors has been that increasingly nationalistic governments will impose barriers that hurt the global economy and trade, as well as profits for USA exporters. Anxiety about protectionism runs deep among owners of the biggest US companies, many of which get more than half their sales from overseas.

Only 13 people bought tickets with Delta's NRA discount
Georgia lawmakers made the decision to eliminate the tax breaks after Delta said it would no longer offer NRA members discounts. But he put some of the blame on the airline, noting the jet fuel exemption wasn't controversial before Delta crossed the NRA.

"You get the algorithms responding to the technical break and initiating sell programs", said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in NY. He vowed that "the European Union will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests".

About 8.1 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges.

Energy (-2.3%) was the weakest of the S&P 11 industry groups, moving lower alongside the price of crude oil after the weekly US crude oil inventory report showed inventories rising by 3M barrels last week; April WTI futures dropped 2.2% to $61.64/bbl.

Steel producer Stelco Holdings Inc fell 6.3 percent to C$23.96.

Bond prices rose as demand jumped for safer investments, which pushed yields lower. The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations of Fed movements, held steady at 2.22 per cent.

US stock-market indexes switched between gains and losses on Thursday, after Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell said he saw no signs of significant wage inflation as he testified before a Senate committee.

Earlier in the week, Powell's testimony helped send Treasury yields jumping and stocks tumbling when he said that he's feeling more optimistic about the economy. However, as rates climb higher, then earnings are going to have to move higher.

FedEx claim ending NRA member discounts would be 'discrimination'
In a statement , the NRA accused the companies that dropped partnerships of "a shameful display of political and civic cowardice". Metlife Inc (NYSE: MET ) - There are no longer discounts for home and auto insurance for NRA members from this company.

About 76 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped profit estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The Nasdaq fell 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,260.

Oil prices continue to drop following a report on Wednesday that showed more crude supplies in inventories last week than analysts expected. The loonie is nearly down two cents against the US dollar since February 16. Brent crude, the global standard, fell 1 cent to $64.72 per barrel.

The basket of 30 blue-chip stocks dropped 380 points, finishing down 1.5 percent on the day and down 4.3 percent for the month.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 106.68 Japanese yen from 107.18 yen late Wednesday.

Coming after the 0.4% fall in the ASX 200 in February, Thursday's 0.7% fall, March is already looking as though it will be in the red by more than 1.5% after just two days trading.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 lost 2.4 per cent, and Germany's DAX fell 2.3 per cent.

Slovak police detain Italians in hunt for journalist's killer
The murders have raised concerns about media freedoms and corruption in Slovakia and sparked a wave of global condemnation. Other anti-corruption protests and memorials are planned for Friday across Slovakia and in Prague, London and The Hague.

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