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April 6, 2018

Job growth slows; Trump trade threats; Markets suffer

1. Weaker jobs report: US job growth slowed in March, according to new data.

The economy added 103,000 jobs, fewer than the 185,000 expected by economists. Unemployment remained at 4.1%, the lowest since 2000.

Wages grew 2.7% from a year ago, in line with expectations.

The economy still added jobs in March, marking the 90th consecutive month of job gains. That streak is a record, according to government figures going back to the 1930s.

2. Trump trade threats: President Donald Trump ratcheted up the trade war rhetoric with China again on Thursday evening.

"In light of China's unfair retaliation, I have instructed the [United States Trade Representative] to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate," the president said in a statement.

The Chinese government responded by reiterating that it doesn't want "to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting it."

Earlier this week, the United States announced new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing responded within hours by announcing $50 billion worth of tariffs on US goods.

The latest threats unnerved investors. US stock futures were pointing lower and the VIX volatility index spiked 7%.

Analysts hope the rhetoric will not translate into a full-on trade war.

3. Global market overview: European stocks opened lower on Friday, while markets in Asia ended the session mixed. The benchmark index in Hong Kong gained, while stocks in Japan and Korea lost 0.3%.

Markets in mainland China were closed.

4. Thursday market recap: The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 1% on Thursday. It was the index's third gain in a row, extending a big comeback on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 added 0.7% and the Nasdaq gained 0.5%.

5. Economics: US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is expected to give a speech on the US economic outlook at 10:30 a.m. ET.

US consumer credit statistics will be released 2:00 p.m. ET.

Canada's jobs report is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

German industrial production slumped unexpectedly in February, according to data from the country's economy ministry. Economists have suggested the drop could be a blip caused by cold weather.

6. Coming this week: Friday — Jobs report

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