By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
“Nevertheless, markets will be sensitive to the fact that a full-blown trade war could result if the two camps back themselves into a corner. The risk of miscalculation increases the more the two sides push this,” he said.
The chip sector was a big loser in Europe. ASML Holdings NV /zigman2/quotes/210293876/composite ASML -1.29% /zigman2/quotes/206208657/delayed NL:ASML -1.78% shares dropped 1.7%, while Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG /zigman2/quotes/204995926/delayed DE:IFX -3.21% fell 0.8%.
The sector was in focus Friday as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -0.17% reported earnings amid concerns a trade-war could hit its chip business. Also, analysts at UBS said Thursday that the semiconductor industry will face headwinds this year.
Among the heavyweights in Germany, shares of industrial manufacturing giant Siemens AG /zigman2/quotes/200873563/delayed DE:SIE -4.35% fell 0.2%. Chemical group BASF SE /zigman2/quotes/204280060/delayed DE:BAS -6.00% shed 0.5%.
In Italy, shares of Telecom Italia SpA /zigman2/quotes/203233528/delayed IT:TIT -3.03% surged 6.9% after Vivendi SA /zigman2/quotes/202179234/delayed FR:VIV -2.64% (VIV.FR) announced its candidates for the Italian telecom’s board, and as Italy’s state-controlled lender CDP approved its plan to take a stake in the company, both on Thursday.
The U.S. nonfarm payrolls data for March showed a far-weaker-than-expected gain of 103,000, against an expectation of 170,000. It was the smallest gain in six months. Hourly wages rose 8 cents, or 0.3%, to $26.82 in March. The 12-month increase in pay edged up to 2.7% from 2.6%.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday backed a “patient” approach to raising interest rates. “The FOMC’s patient approach has paid dividends and contributed to the strong economy we have today,” Powell said, in a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago.
—Mark DeCambre contributed to this article