May 31, 2018
The widening of steel and aluminum tariffs to include Canada, Mexico and Europe raises questions of both risk and opportunity for U.S. economic performance. Concern over retaliatory tariffs is part of what sent stocks lower with the Dow losing 1.0 percent to 24,415 in what is yet another sharp daily swing. But tariffs may give an immediate boost to the domestic metals business which perhaps explains a very limited move into safe-haven instruments as Treasuries and the dollar were virtually unchanged.
The day's economic news should not be overshadowed led by a surprisingly strong showing for April consumer spending which is raising GDP estimates for the second quarter, some to 4 percent and over. And the inflation numbers in the report are roughly what Fed policy makers are looking for, with overall inflation right at their 2 percent goal though core inflation remains stubborn and a bit soft at 1.8 percent.