The Russell 2000 Index posted the smallest loss among major indexes as the bulk of its members derive most of their sales in the U.S.
"I don't know if this will cause a trade war, and obviously that's the fear", said Lamar Villere, portfolio manager at investment manager Villere & Co. It had only four such days previous year.
At 9:48am EDT the Dow Jones industrial average was down 68.78 points, or 0.27%, at 24,960.42, the S&P 500 was down 5.62 points, or 0.207087%, at 2,708.21 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 29.13 points, or 0.4%, at 7,243.88.
After a confused day of report and counter report, Trump said the US would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum next week. Such action, and the risk of retaliation by trading partners, could cloud the US economic outlook and derail the global recovery now benefiting the United States.
The price data "will add to the sense that the weak patch in inflation is behind us", and "barring some kind of disaster, a March hike is pretty much a done deal", Feroli said. He vowed that "the European Union will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests". Meanwhile, a report on US manufacturing activity unexpectedly rose to a near-14 year high, with the prices-paid component coming in at the highest since May 2011.
Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar fell 2 percent and aerospace giant Boeing gave back 4 percent.
"It's helping about a dozen stocks in those industries but has raised the specter of trade wars, and trade wars don't help the stock market". While industrial companies in the benchmark equity index tumbled, U.S. Steel Corp. advanced 7 percent and steel-products company Nucor Corp. gained 3.1 percent. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to 2.81 percent from 2.86 percent late Wednesday.
Ferry blast injures American passengers in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Videos uploaded to social media showed emergency crews nursing injured people at the dock and people rushing for help. An eastern North Dakota family on vacation in Mexico was taken to a hospital after a ferry exploded.
Name SearchWatch Service' Jerome Powell told Congress Tuesday that the outlook for the US economy "remains strong" despite the recent stock market turbulence, keeping the central bank on track to gradually raise interest rates.
World stock markets entered March on shaky ground on Thursday, falling for the third straight day before the second leg of U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell's testimony to lawmakers.
Referring to the wild swings in the stock market that occurred earlier this month, Powell said the Fed does "not see these developments as weighing heavily on the outlook for economic activity, the labor market and inflation".
Investors are taking the measure of the Powell Fed as it debates how quickly to raise interest rates with an economy that is growing steadily and receiving new stimulus from tax cuts and spending increases signed by President Donald Trump in December. The dollar index rose to 90.818, a six-week high.
Dental supplies maker Patterson Companies plunged 22 percent after reporting weak earnings for the latest quarter. Shanghai shares were 0.15 percent higher.
The Canadian dollar inched up 0.04 cents to 77.95 cents U.S. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost $1.04 to $63.70 per barrel.
Gold prices slid $6.40 at $1,311.50 U.S.an ounce. The euro fell to $1.2170 from $1.2203, and the British pound slipped to $1.3743 from $1.3771. The Nikkei in Japan added 1.1 percent, riding the momentum of Monday's U.S. equity gains. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.8 percent.