Stocks rise as Trump rolls out tariffs

Stocks posted gains Thursday after President Donald Trump signed off on tariffs that exclude Canada and Mexico, easing concerns on Wall Street that the plan would fuel a trade war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 93.85 points, or 0.38%, to 24,895.21. The S&P 500 rose 12.17 points, or 0.45%, to 2,738.97. The Nasdaq Composite was up 31.30 points, or 0.42%, at 7,427.95.

Trump officially announced a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum during a White House event Thursday afternoon. The tariffs will not apply to Canada and Mexico, and Trump said he will continue ongoing discussions with those countries as the U.S. seeks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

John Lynch, chief investment strategist at LPL Financial, wrote in a recent note to clients that Trump would likely take action to dilute the impact of the tariffs, partly by sparing some U.S. allies. The ultimate exclusion of Canada and Mexico—despite the Trump administration’s earlier insistence that no countries would get a reprieve—was seen on Wall Street as a sign that Trump may soften his stance on trade.

“While talk of trade risks will likely continue to be a source of increased volatility, economic fundamentals do remain sound and trade risks to date should not derail the bull market,” Lynch said.

In other market news, the latest weekly jobless claims were released Thursday morning, which came in at 231,000, above economists’ forecast of 220,000. On Friday, the Labor Department will release the monthly February jobs report. Investors are closely tracking wage growth, as recent signs of inflation gains have raised expectations for additional interest rate hikes this year.

U.S. oil futures fell 1.68% to $60.12 a barrel. Gold was trading 0.4% lower at $1,322.60 an ounce.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to around 2.861%, down from 2.883%.