Speaking on the first day of NATO’s 70th anniversary summit in London, Trump said he was open to waiting until after the 2020 elections to reach a trade accord with China, a sharp departure from his comments in October when he said a “phase one” deal was nearly complete.
“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right,” Trump told reporters.
The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 400 points after his comments, or 1.4%, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell roughly 1.3%. The downturn followed a rocky Monday on Wall Street, spurred in part by Trump’s sudden announcement that he would reimpose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina.
“We were reminded [Monday] that the manufacturing sector has been weak, and a good part of that weakness is attributable to uncertainty about Trump’s trade war,” said Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research. “And today we’re reminded that it’s not over until it’s over.”
Still, analysts note, Trump treats markets as a personal poll. He routinely touts the strength of the U.S. economy as a signature achievement, one he promotes in the Oval Office and on the campaign trail.
“The market is important to him, and he has said many times it is what he wants to be judged on,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer of Tigress Financial Partners. “He can only go so far, and then he softens up and the market rallies.”
Speaking in London, Trump called Tuesday’s Wall Street losses “peanuts” and said he doesn’t “watch the stock market” as it goes up or down.
“I watch jobs. Jobs are