By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investor concerns over U.S. trade policy overshadowed worries about political instability in Italy, driving equity prices lower on Thursday.
Equity indexes around the world fell after the United States said it would impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union and Washington's allies took steps to retaliate against U.S. goods.
That helped deflate and, in many cases, erase earlier gains in financial markets from Chicago to Milan. The trade rift rippled through commodities, too.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 251.94 points, or 1.02 percent, to 24,415.84, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 18.74 points, or 0.69 percent, to 2,705.27 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 20.34 points, or 0.27 percent, to 7,442.12. [.N]
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.24 percent after earlier gains.
"We're on a trajectory that could easily escalate to trade war," said Angus Sippe, portfolio manager at Schroders plc
Traders also worried about possible retaliation from China, the world's biggest soy importer.
China lashed out at renewed threats from the White House on trade and warned it was ready to fight back, days ahead of a planned visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
And Mexico's retaliatory tariffs on pork legs rattled livestock traders, sending U.S. lean hog futures
Markets had been wrestling this week with the implications of an Italian governing crisis, which sent its government bonds spiralling down earlier this week and hit the euro and other risk assets. But Italy's two anti-establishment parties revived their coalition plans on Thursday, promising to end three months of political turmoil.
That helped the euro, which climbed 0.25 percent to $1.169 after its biggest jump since early January on Wednesday
In oil markets, Brent crude
Benchmark 10-year notes
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Tom Polansek and Theo Waters in Chicago, Eric Onstad and Marc Jones in London Editing by Bernadette Baum and Diane Craft)
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Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 03:05 AM