NEW YORK (AP) -- Another increase in trade tensions has stocks reversing course and falling again Friday morning as the U.S. considers an even larger set of tariffs on imports from China. Stocks have tumbled and then climbed this week as investors tried to get a sense of whether a trade dispute between the two nations will escalate, an outcome that could have major consequences for the global economy. Meanwhile the Labor Department said U.S. employers hired fewer workers than expected in March.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index lost 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,649 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 146 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,359. The Nasdaq composite slid 36 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,042. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,538.
The declines Friday morning were much less severe than the ones the market suffered when the previous tariffs were proposed, as the U.S. and Chinese governments have both repeatedly tried to reassured investors that they are not rushing into a trade war.
TRADE TIFF: President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to consider placing tariffs on $100 billion in duties on Chinese imports. China said it would fight back "at any cost." The move is a surprise increase in trade tensions. At the start of the week, the U.S. announced plans to put tariffs on $50 billion in goods imported from China, and the Chinese government responded with measures of equal size. Stocks initially plunged, but they recovered late Wednesday and Thursday as officials from both countries said they were open to talks and that the tariffs might never go into effect.
The Dow average, which contains numerous multinational companies including industrial powerhouses Boeing and Caterpillar, has swung dramatically this week. Compared to last Friday's close, it fell as much as 758 points Monday. It recovered all of those losses and was up as much as 519 points on Thursday.
EARLY LOSERS: Industrial companies might face the worst pain from tariffs, as they could find themselves dealing with higher costs for components imported into the U.S. while the duties on their goods in China harm their sales. Technology companies have also struggled as Wall Street worries about a slowdown in global economic growth. Optimism about the world economy has helped many tech companies make huge gains in the last year.
PayPal fell $1.26, or 1.6 percent, to $75.69 and software maker Oracle lost 32 cents to $45.64. Caterpillar, a construction equipment maker, shed $1.63, or 1.1 percent, to $146.50 while farm equipment company Deere sank $2.41, or 1.6 percent, to $148.93. Aerospace giant Boeing dipped $3.08 to $333.32.
DISAPPOINTING DATA: Employers added 103,000 jobs in March, which is weaker than the last few months. The Labor Department also said fewer jobs were added in January and February that it initially estimated. The unemployment rate remained low and the job market looks fundamentally healthy, but it's possible some employers are struggling to find workers.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 2 cents to $63.56 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 15 cents to $68.48 per barrel in London.
BONDS: Bond prices rose, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.79 percent from 2.83 percent. The lower yields send bank stocks lower. JPMorgan Chase fell 53 cents to $111.35 and Synchrony Financial skidded 45 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $34.35.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.25 yen from 107.12 yen. The euro rose to $1.2270 from $1.2256.
OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX was down 0.4 percent while France's CAC-40 was 0.1 percent lower. The FTSE 100 in Britain rose 0.1 percent.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.4 percent while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.3 percent but Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1 percent after trading resumed following a holiday as investors caught up with the previous day's global gains.