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Wall Street treads water ahead of Trump's tariff decision


By Sinead Carew

(Reuters) - The was roughly flat on Thursday and oscillated between positive and negative territory as investors were nervous of making bets ahead of an announcement from on after a volatile week marked by worries about a potential trade war.

Trump is expected to formalize 25 percent import duties on and a 10 percent on aluminum at 3:30 p.m ET (2030 GMT), after saying and would be exempted if they agree on a trade deal with the

But Trump told reporters ahead of the announcement that he had a right to exempt or add countries, adding to uncertainty among market participants.

Worries that the tariffs would ignite a global trade war have dominated markets since Trump announced to plan last Thursday, and the exit of late Tuesday intensified such concerns.

"We've been busy buying and selling the rumor. We want to know what the is. Announcing at the beginning of the trading day this would happen at the end was not great for market action. It ramped up uncertainty," said Kim Forrest, at in

"He has a pattern of coming out hard and walking it back. Now we'll see what he means."

At 2:10 p.m. ET, the <.DJI> fell 69.67 points, or 0.28 percent, to 24,731.69, the <.SPX> lost 2.32 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,724.48 and the Composite <.IXIC> dropped 1.45 points, or 0.02 percent, to 7,395.20.

Major trading partners and have warned they would respond to any action by the

"If he (Trump) does announce much more draconian measures that are going to knock on to other products, I think there will be a sell-off," said Dec Mullarkey, at Sun Life based in Wellesley,

was among the top boosts for the S&P 500, rising 8 percent after agreed to buy the for almost $53 billion. shares were the biggest drag with a 11.2 percent drop.

fell more than 12 percent after the supermarket chain's disappointing full-year profit forecast.

fell 9.5 percent on concerns over falling margins.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.23-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The posted 22 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Composite recorded 145 new highs and 19 new lows.

(Reporting by in Bengaluru; Editing by and Chizu Nomiyama)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 01:06 IST