Liu He, China's vice premier, left, shakes hands with Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, while arriving for a meeting at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. (Credit: CNN)
Liu He, China's vice premier, left, shakes hands with Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, while arriving for a meeting at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. (Credit: CNN)

Dow rallies more than 400 points. Investors’ trade fears ease

The Dow and broader stock market were rallying again on Friday as US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He hold trade talks in Washington.

Trade has dominated markets once again this week, with stocks rising and falling in lockstep with headlines.

The Trump-Liu meeting is spurring hopes the world’s two largest economies are finally making meaningful progress on the trade front.

Negotiators of the two countries reached a preliminary agreement on Friday but fell short of a comprehensive trade deal, according to people familiar with the talks. Details of the agreement are still emerging, but will likely include a halt on US tariff increases.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet earlier Friday that “good things are happening” at the trade meetings and that “all would like to see something significant happen.”

In response, stocks are sharply higher across the board.

The Dow soared more than 400 points, or 1.6% at its peak. The S&P 500 was up 1.6%, while the Nasdaq Composite traded 1.8% higher.

All three indexes are on track for a gain this week, which would be the first in three weeks for the Dow and the S&P 500.

But if anything has been learned throughout the US-China trade negotiations, it’s that a tweet or a new headline can change the market’s sentiment at the drop of a hat.

“Everyone is kind of narrowing in on this idea that we will get a smaller, partial deal — a phase one deal, if you will — and the worry about the trickier bits later,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.

“Investors always overreact and then they adjust relative to the details. That’s what we’re seeing here,” Arone added.

Some economic data that could have derailed Friday’s rally was University of Michigan consumer sentiment, which over the past months showed growing concerns about trade tensions.

But the survey-based index beat expectations, with the negative impact of trade policies weighing on consumers’ minds a little less.

“Importantly, the impeachment inquiry has not had a significant negative impact on economic prospect,” said Richard Curtin, chief economists of the survey of consumers.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, oil prices are sharply higher after an Iranian oil tanker was hit by two missiles in the Middle East. The missiles were possible fired from Saudi Arabian soil.

Geopolitical tensions in the oil-rich region pushed prices higher on Friday, but have come off their highs. US oil prices are up 2% at $54.63 a barrel, while the international benchmark, Brent crude, is up 1.9% at $60.20 a barrel.

Author: CNN Business
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