Stocks had their worst week since December as new questions arose over the pace of global growth. The S&P 500 and Dow fell 2.2% for the week. Internationally, Japan sank 2.7% and Europe dropped 1.0% for the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury eased to 2.63% as investors moved to safe haven investments.
The US and China are nearing an agreement on trade where China would lower tariffs and other restrictions on a range of goods and the US would eliminate most if not all of the tariffs that were applied last year.
The ECB revealed a surprise stimulus plan to help improve weakening growth. The ECB said it would keep interest rates at their current levels at least through the end of this year after previously estimating they would raise rates at the end of the summer. It will also issue new inexpensive long term loans starting in September.
Italy’s economy contracted less than expected in the fourth quarter.
China’s PMI hit its lowest level since October.
The Bank of Canada and Australia kept their key interest rates steady after officials expressed concerns about growth.
Fed officials’ recent comments show they are not expecting a rate increase this year.
Hiring results from February fell significantly short of expectations with just 20,000 new hires. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% from 4%. Wages grew 3.4%, the fastest pace in nearly a decade.
Chinese exports tumbled 20.7% in February from a year earlier.