Search ForexCrunch

Major US equity indices struggled to build on overnight strong gains and traded mixed during the opening hour of trade on Thursday.  

Optimism led by efforts to form a coalition government in Italy and avoid fresh elections quickly faded, with returning trade war fears weighing on investors’ sentiment and prompting some fresh weakness.

Report that the US is set to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union as early as Thursday, and possible retaliatory measures from the EU turned out to be one of the key factors denting investors’ appetite for riskier assets – like equities.  

On the economic data front, the US consumer spending jumped 0.6% in April, marking its biggest rise in five months and pointing to a pickup in the US economic growth at the start of the second quarter.  

Meanwhile, the core PCE price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge and which excludes the volatile food and energy components, was up 0.2% in April and the yearly rate remained at 1.8%, below the central bank’s 2% target.  

At the time of writing this report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down over 150-points, closer to 24,500, and the broader S&P 500 Index declined around 8-points to 2,716. Meanwhile, tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index outperformed the broader indices and climbed nearly 10-points to 7,473.