Stocks fell on Thursday after the Trump administration announced that it would apply tariffs on metals from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada–sparking threats of retaliation from each of those trading partners.
But the decline was far more muted than the heated rhetoric about “trade wars” might have implied. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 252.94 points, or around 1 percent on the Tuesday following the forced destruction of the Italian populist government. The S&P 500 dropped just 0,.7 percent. The Nasdaq Composite was down by 0.3 percent.
By contrast, news of political turmoil in Italy was followed by a decline of 391 points in the Dow, or 1.58%. Even at the lowest point on Thursday, the Dow was only down by about 300 points. The S&P dropped 1.16% and the Nasdaq was off by 0.50%.
So a heightening of trade tensions between some of the world’s biggest trading counterparties was less impactful than worries about the Italian government’s stability.