US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Slip on Concern over Interpretation of Phase One Agrement

Chinese trade data comes in softer than expected
David Becker
silhouette form of bear on technical financial graph

 

Stock prices flip-flopped back and forth between positive and negative territory on Monday as investors absorbed the phase one of the US-Chinese trade agreement. The difference between the initial coverage between the US and China was stark. The Chinese coverage of a trade agreement was not nearly as upbeat. What is important to garner is that nothing was signed which means that it’s still up for interpretation. China agreed to buy more agriculture products from the US, but this was not a concession.

The US will not go forward with the increase in tariffs on around $250 billion of Chinese goods from 25% to 30%, which is largely symbolic. For this deal to really feel like its ready to be signed the Chinese are going to need more and want an agreement that the December tariff hikes will be taken off the table. Trade-in China came in weaker than expected.

Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were lower led down by Materials, while financials were the best performing sector. Apple shares hit a fresh all time high as the company is poised to continue to lift the broader markets. Chinese import and export data were softer than expected which will likely further weigh on global growth.

Trump and Xi Meeting

Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the APEC meeting next month, in the middle of November. The mid-December tariff on about $160 billion of Chinese goods, is what is now a key decision for both sides. The Chinese also have a concern that President Trump will pull the plug on an agreement even if he verbally agrees to one. They have accused the US of flip-flopping which is what the US accused China of doing. Those who surround President Xi believe that President Trump could embarrass President Xi, at the APEC meeting, if he changes his mind.

Chinese Trade Data Disappoints

China’s trade data disappointed with imports and exports coming in weaker than expected. The trade surplus widened to $39.65 billion in September from $34.78 billion. Exports were off 3.2% year-over-year after the 1.0% decline in August and forecasts for a 2.8% decline. Pork imports are 44% higher from a year ago, and beef imports are 54% higher, but overall imports contracted 8.5% in September following a 5.6% decline in August. China reported auto sales fell 6.6% year-over-year in September, the 15th decline in the past 16 months.

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