Stocks of the biggest U.S. multinational companies were hit the hardest by a sell-off that accelerated after the Trump administration announced new steel and aluminum tariffs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is composed of 30 large publicly traded U.S. companies, fell by 1.68 percent. The broader S&P 500 index fell by 1.33 percent. The tech heavy Nasdaq fell by 1.27 percent.
The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller public companies, was down by just 0.33 percent. This suggests that investors think the cost of the tariffs and any potential international retaliation will be borne by the biggest companies rather than smaller ones.
All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 fell. The biggest declines were in technology firms, industrial companies, and financials. Shares of U.S. steel and aluminum companies soared, with U.S. Steel rising 4.8 percent and Century Aluminum jumped 5.9 percent.
Although some economists think tariffs are inflationary, the bond market did not seem to indicate much concern over rising prices. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.802 percent from 2.870 percent. Yields fall as bond prices rise and bond prices typically fall when investors fear inflation.
The Thursday sell-off marks the third consecutive day in which stocks have fallen. Stocks in Europe and Japan were also lower.