July 20, 2018 / 11:42 AM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures turn lower as Trump comments fan trade war fears

* Dow down 0.35 pct, S&P down 0.19 pct, Nasdaq up 0.20 pct

By Amy Caren Daniel

July 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Friday after President Donald Trump toughened his stance against China and said he was ready to impose levies on $500 billion worth of goods from the Asian nation.

His comments on tariffs, which followed the United States and China imposing tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other’s goods this month, worried investors already grappling with the impact of a strengthening dollar on corporate results.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said on Friday that U.S. tariffs on imported cars would be against WTO rules and that the European Union was looking at countermeasures.

The latest round of U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, held up for now by a formal public comment period, could impact Apple Inc’s watches, several Fitbit activity trackers and connected speakers from Sonos.

Meanwhile, the dollar held below a one-year high on Friday after Trump expressed concern about a stronger currency, but the greenback was set for a second straight week of gains and an increase of more than 5 percent in the past three months.

“The strengthening of the dollar could weigh on the economy and soften the impact of the trade measures Trump is taking against other countries,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at online forex broker Oanda, said in a note.

At 7:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 88 points, or 0.35 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.25 points, or 0.19 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.75 points, or 0.20 percent.

Providing support was Microsoft, whose shares jumped 3.7 percent in premarket trading after its profit and revenue beat estimates on strong performance of its Azure cloud computing services business.

General Electric was up 0.4 percent, while Honeywell gained 1.7 percent after the two industrial conglomerates posted better-than-expected quarterly profits.

Skechers USA plunged 25.6 percent after the shoemaker posted disappointing quarterly results and forecast. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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