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July 6, 2018

Trade war; US jobs report; Brexit crunch

1. The trade war is on: The United States and China have imposed steep new tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's exports.

US tariffs of 25% are targeting more than 800 Chinese products worth $34 billion such as industrial machinery, medical devices and auto parts. They kicked in just after midnight ET.

Beijing immediately responded with tariffs on over 500 US products including SUVs, meat and seafood. It accused the United States of starting "the biggest trade war in economic history."

"China is forced to strike back to safeguard core national interests and the interests of its people," the country's Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

2. US jobs report: The Labor Department will release its June jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The economy has added an average 207,000 jobs a month this year after a blowout number of 223,000 in May. Economists predict that 195,000 jobs were added in June.

Unemployment stands at 3.8%, the lowest rate since 2000. If it dips to 3.7%, it will be the lowest since 1969.

3. Brexit crunch time: British Prime Minister Theresa May has convened a government summit that's billed as her last chance to unite her party and produce a plan for Brexit.

Britain is set to leave the European Union in just nine months, but businesses still don't know whether they will be able to continue to export goods to the European Union without border checks or tariffs.

Several major companies have warned they might have to leave or scale back their operations in the United Kingdom if a trade deal is not agreed.

4. Global markets overview: US stock futures were flat despite the dramatic trade headlines.

European markets opened higher, following a positive trading session in Asia. The US dollar dropped slightly against a basket of major currencies.

"The rumor was sold and the news is being bought, with the dollar the softest of the G10 currencies overnight," said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale.

The Dow closed 0.8% higher on Thursday and the S&P 500 added 0.9%. The Nasdaq was flat.

5. Companies and economics: Samsung said Friday that its operating profit for the quarter ended June is expected to come in at 14.8 trillion won ($13.2 billion), down from the previous quarter's 15.6 trillion won ($14 billion).

That results marks the end of a year-long streak of record quarterly earnings by the world's biggest smartphone maker. Samsung's shares dropped 2.3%.

Shares in German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp jumped 3.7% after CEO Heinrich Hiesinger announced his resignation. Hiesinger was under increasing pressure from shareholders over his plans for the future of the group.

German industrial data for May came in way above expectations. It could be a sign that an earlier slowdown was fleeting.

6. Coming this week:

Friday — US jobs report; tariffs on the first $34 billion of Chinese goods go into effect

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