Dow falls more than 300 points after Trump warns China trade war could go beyond 2020 election

Trump on Tuesday suggested to reporters in London that a trade deal with Beijing might come much later than many expected, saying “in some ways I think it’s better to wait for after the election if you want to know the truth.” This contradicts Trump’s earlier statements about negotiations going well. But investors chose to focus on the downside risk, because a trade deal between the United States and China has been pretty much priced in ever since the two countries came to a preliminary verbal agreement in October. This agreement was never signed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC that delaying a trade deal could take leverage from China. Ross added that it was important the president made clear that he wasn’t under any time pressure to get a deal done. The secretary also said that US import tariffs would continue unless there was a deal. The next round of tariffs is set to take effect on December 15. But other trade headlines are also spooking investors as well. For example, the United States proposed tariffs on French goods like cheese and champagne on Monday, in response to France’s digital tax aimed at Google (GOOGL)and Facebook (FB). Meanwhile, President Trump threatened to slap tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Brazil and Argentina given the “massive devaluation of their currencies.” Amid all this, stocks are sliding. The Dow (INDU) fell nearly 460 points at its worst. The index was last down 1.3%, or 350 points. The S&P 500 (SPX) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) were off by 1%. Safe haven investments like gold and high-dividend paying utilities and real estate investment trusts were among the few winners. The selloff was steeper than on Monday, when the three indexes recorded their worst one-day percentage drop in two months.

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