Dow lower as US removes steel, aluminum tariff exemptions on some allies

The Dow posted a triple-digit drop after the Trump administration said it will remove steel and aluminum tariff exemptions from the European Union and other U.S. allies, adding to trade concerns among investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 251.94 points, or 1.02%, to 24,415.84. The S&P 500 fell 18.74 points, or 0.7%, to 2,705.27. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.34 points, or 0.27%, to 7,442.12. With the removal of exemptions, tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum will go into effect at midnight for the EU, Canada and Mexico.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33923.89 -39.95 -0.12%
SP500 S&P 500 4326.14 +6.08 +0.14%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13237.701109 +25.89 +0.20%

While most stocks fell on the U.S. move, some domestic steel producers – including United States Steel and Nucor – rallied.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AKS n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
NUE NUCOR CORP. 153.13 +1.59 +1.05%
X UNITED STATES STEEL CORP. 32.00 +0.77 +2.47%
STLD STEEL DYNAMICS INC. 101.10 +1.56 +1.57%

Despite Thursday's selloff, the major indexes remained in positive territory in May and clinched a two-month winning streak. The Dow rose 1.05% during the month, while the broader S&P 500 was up 2.16%. The Nasdaq gained 5.32%.

Investors digested a busy economic data calendar. Weekly jobless claims fell more than expected, and consumer spending jumped 0.6% in April for the biggest gain in five months. The core personal consumption expenditures index rose 1.8% in April from a year earlier, matching March’s rate, which was revised lower from the 1.9% pace that was previously reported. The Fed’s official inflation target is 2%.

U.S. pending home sales fell 1.3% in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. The reading was at a three-month low.

In commodities, U.S. oil futures retreated 1.7% to $67.04 a barrel.

Harley-Davidson shares were down more than 2% in reaction to Trump's tariffs, which could drive up costs for raw materials, the company warned. The EU also had listed Harley-Davidson motorcycles as a potential retaliatory target if the U.S.'s tariffs on steel and aluminum took effect.

General Motors surged nearly 13% on news that Japan's SoftBank will invest in the automaker's self-driving car unit, Cruise.

Sears dropped 12.5% after reporting weaker quarterly sales.

IBM shares fell less than 1%. The company is cutting some jobs in its Watson Health division.