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Materials Up, Steelmakers Weak, Amid Mixed Tariff Signals -- Materials Roundup

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03/08/2018 | 10:28pm CEST

Shares of miners and other commodities producers rose slightly amid confusion about tariff plans. Steelmakers have generally gained value in anticipation of a sweeping tariff that would drive up the price of the industrial metal in the U.S. On Thursday, however, steelmakers fell after President Donald Trump said he would maintain flexibility to adjust proposed metals tariffs on a country-by-country basis. Mr. Trump said tariffs might not be necessary on Canada and Mexico if the North American Free Trade Agreement was renegotiated to his satisfaction and also singled out Australia as a potential exemption. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said tariffs proposed by Mr. Trump raise questions about the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance, as the bank signaled a shift toward tighter monetary policy.

"Protectionist policies will act like a wet blanket on global trade and markets continue to react negatively to these types of policies," said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for money manager Allianz Investment Management, in an emailed statement.

Akzo Nobel said net profit for 2017 fell 14%, and that the planned split of its specialty chemicals division is on track to be completed by April.

-Rob Curran, rob.curran@dowjones.com

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