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  • Microsoft rises to record highs on upbeat earnings.
  • Energy drops as WTI continues to fall.
  • Escalating trade fears and Trump’s monetary policy comments weigh on sentiment.

Major equity indexes in the United States started the day slightly lower and struggled to make a decisive move in either direction to end the day near their opening levels. President Trump’s comments on the Fed’s monetary policy and tariffs forced investors to stay on the sidelines.

Trump on Friday said that he was planning to impose tariffs on $500 billion worth of Chinese imports.  “Trade remains a major factor overall but people are tracking strong economic data and earnings season, where expectations are pretty high,”  Michael Dowdall, investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management in Chicago, told Reuters.

On the other hand, Trump reiterated his displeasure regarding the Fed’s rate hikes and argued that a strong USD would put the U.S. at a disadvantage when trying to compete with the EU and China, who, according to Trump, manipulate their currencies by keeping interest rates low. The S&P 500 Financials Index (SPSY), which has been outperforming other sectors amid strong earnings figures from major financial institutions, erased the majority of its daily gains to end 0.2% higher.

In the meantime, Microsoft’s higher-than-expected revenue and EPS figures that were released yesterday after the closing bell lifted the company’s shares to an all-time high on Friday. However, the risk-sensitive S&P 500 Information Technology Index (SPLRCT) finished the day slightly higher as the low-risk appetite didn’t allow the index to gather strength.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 7.5 points, or 0.03%, to 25,057.00, the S&P 500 erased 2.59 points, or 0.09%, to 2,801.90 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 5.97points, or 0.07%, to 7,820.20.

For the week, the DJIA and the S&P 500 gained 0.15% and 0.02% respectively while Nasdaq lost 0.07%.