Dealing with the fallout from the president’s tough trade tactics is dominating the conference calls company executives typically hold following the release of their earnings results. Tariffs have been mentioned in some form on more than 40 percent of the 146 S&P 500 companies that have already reported second-quarter earnings this season.
In an effort to track corporate America’s thoughts on the growing trade dispute, CNBC is amassing statements from earnings calls that involve discussion on the new taxes on foreign goods. The impact seems heavily tilted toward the industrials sector.
New U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, for instance, appear to be sending shock waves throughout the economy with mixed effect.
Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool, which once favored stricter trade controls for its own industry, saw its own shares plummet 14 percent Tuesday after executives blamed rising aluminum and steel costs for lackluster earnings.
“Global steel cost has risen substantially and, particularly in the U.S., they have reached unexplainable levels,” Whirlpool chief executive Marc Bitzer told shareholders during the company’s conference call.
Most of the discussions are critical, but there are a few companies seeing benefits.
Nucor, which produces and sells a variety of steel products in the United States and internationally, applauded the recent regulatory efforts.
“The tariffs send a clear message that the U.S. is done asking nicely for compliance with the rules of trade,” said Nucor Chairman and CEO John Ferriola. “The U.S. steel market is also benefiting from a reduction in unfairly traded imports entering our country as a result of years of successful trade cases, and the broad-based tariffs imposed on the Section 232. Imports are down more than 7 percent through the first half of 2018. With all tariffs going into effect in June, we expect this trend to continue.”
Below are some key quotes by company executives from major S&P 500 members about tariffs on these calls, according to FactSet transcripts.