Job growth slows; Trump trade threats; Markets suffer

President Donald Trump on Thursday made his first public comments on his decision to oust David Shulkin, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying that he did so because he "wasn't happy" with the speed of veteran care.

(CNN Money) — 1. Weaker jobs report: US job growth slowed in March, according to new data.

The economy added 103,000 jobs, fewer than the 185,000 expected by economists. Unemployment remained at 4.1%, the lowest since 2000.

Wages grew 2.7% from a year ago, in line with expectations.

The economy still added jobs in March, marking the 90th consecutive month of job gains. That streak is a record, according to government figures going back to the 1930s.

2. Trump trade threats: President Donald Trump ratcheted up the trade war rhetoric with China again on Thursday evening.

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the [United States Trade Representative] to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate,” the president said in a statement.

The Chinese government responded by reiterating that it doesn’t want “to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting it.”

Earlier this week, the United States announced new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing responded within hours by announcing $50 billion worth of tariffs on US goods.

The latest threats unnerved investors. US stock futures were pointing lower and the VIX volatility index spiked 7%.

Analysts hope the rhetoric will not translate into a full-on trade war.

3. Global market overview: European stocks opened lower on Friday, while markets in Asia ended the session mixed. The benchmark index in Hong Kong gained, while stocks in Japan and Korea lost 0.3%.

Markets in mainland China were closed.

4. Thursday market recap: The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 1% on Thursday. It was the index’s third gain in a row, extending a big comeback on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 added 0.7% and the Nasdaq gained 0.5%.

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5. Economics: US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is expected to give a speech on the US economic outlook at 10:30 a.m. ET.

US consumer credit statistics will be released 2:00 p.m. ET.

Canada’s jobs report is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

German industrial production slumped unexpectedly in February, according to data from the country’s economy ministry. Economists have suggested the drop could be a blip caused by cold weather.

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6. Coming this week:
Friday — Jobs report