U.S. stocks sold off for a third consecutive session on Tuesday after comments from President Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threw cold water on hopes of a possible near-term respite from the market-bruising U.S.-China trade war.
The blue-chip Dow had its worst day since Oct. 8, and all three major stock indexes backed further away from last week’s record highs that were fueled by optimism that an interim deal between the United States and China was in the works.
That optimism was dampened as Trump suggested a deal might have to wait until after the 2020 election, and separately, Ross confirmed that new tariffs on Chinese imports would take effect on Dec. 15 as scheduled, unless substantial progress was made.
Those remarks, on the heels of France’s threatened retaliation over potential new U.S. duties on French products, itself a retaliation against a proposed French “digital tax,” suggested that America’s hydra-headed tariff war against its major trading partners would continue to dominate markets for the foreseeable future.
Speaking to reporters in London, Trump raised the possibility of the trade deal being delayed until after the U.S. presidential elections in November 2020.
“I have no deadline, no. In some ways I think it’s better to wait until after the election with China,” Trump said ahead of a meeting of NATO leaders.
Trump downplayed the stock market’s Tuesday losses as “peanuts” when compared to both the economic importance of striking a favorable trade deal with China and the market’s gains since his election, CNBC reported.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average “was about 16,000 or 15,000 and now it’s almost at 30,000,” Trump said an international NATO summit in London. “It’s going to be at 30,000,” he said.
“If the stock market goes up or down: I don’t watch the stock market.