Global stocks were mixed Wednesday as investors tried to make sense of the latest back-and-forth in the US-China trade clash.
US President Donald Trump’s pledge to hike tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports at the end of the week wiped more than $1 trillion off stock market valuations on Monday and Tuesday, agency reports.
The selling continued in Asia, with Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai all losing more than one percent. But trading was more muted in Europe and New York as investors welcomed more benign statements from the White House.
While steeper tariffs are set to take effect on Friday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that Chinese trade officials are coming to Washington to “make a deal” in a new round of talks starting Thursday. But China’s Commerce Ministry warned of unspecified retaliation should Trump not back down.
“The fact this could be little more than a bargaining gambit cannot be ignored,” said James Hughes, chief market analyst at AxiTrader. “Developments in the coming days could see volatility maintained.”
Having traded mostly lower in the morning, key European markets posted small gains by the close, but investors clearly didn’t have the stomach to take big positions with so little visibility on trade developments.
Frankfurt’s saving grace was a sharp gain in DAX index heavyweight Siemens which reported steady profits and announced the spinoff of its legacy power and gas unit.
Wall Street spent much of the afternoon in positive territory, but stocks sold off in the last 30 minutes, leaving the Dow flat and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq modestly negative.
“The signs are contradictory but investors aren’t too scared,” said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services. “They’re positioning not for a failure, but for the situation to drag out longer.”
In other markets, oil prices pushed higher after data showed lower US oil supplies. The market was further boosted by concerns over Iranian oil output after Tehran said it would suspend some promises it made under a nuclear deal
rejected by Washington. – Key figures around 2100 GMT –
New York – Dow: FLAT at 25,967.33 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,879.42 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,943.32 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,271.00 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 12,179.93 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,417.59 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,417.26 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.5 percent at 21,602.59 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.2 percent at 29,003.20 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.1 percent at 2,893.76 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1193 from $1.1191 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3004 from $1.3075
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.10 yen from 110.26 yen
Oil – Brent Crude: UP 49 cents at $70.37 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 72 cent at $62.12 per barrel