Stocks stutter as attention turns to trade deadline, central bank meetings

Tuesday, 10 Dec, 2019

"We need a deal with China as soon as possible so we can bring an end to the trade war that has put a drag on the USA economy for far too long".

China has demanded that some of the existing USA tariffs imposed on about $375 billion worth of its exports be removed, in addition to cancellation of the December 15 tariffs on some $156 billion of its remaining exports to the United States.

USA stocks pulled back on Monday from near-record levels, as Apple and healthcare shares fell and investors braced for a busy week of political and economic news, including a potential turning point in the U.S.

Meanwhile, China's exports shrank for the fourth consecutive month in November, underscoring persistent pressures on manufacturers from the prolonged trade war, although growth in imports may be a sign that Beijing's stimulus efforts are working. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each fell 0.2%.

USA soybean futures rose for a fifth straight session on Monday to their highest in two weeks as Chinese importers resumed buying. China has hit again by concentrating on about $120 billion in US items, specializing in farm merchandise.

The world's two greatest economies are deadlocked over USA allegations that China steals know-how and pressures global firms to hand over trade secrets and techniques as half of a sharp-elbowed drive to change into a world chief in superior industries akin to robotics and self-driving automobiles.

Imports unexpectedly rose 0.3% from a year earlier, compared with a 1.8% decline forecast by economists and a 6.4% decline in October.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the 15 December deadline for a fresh wave of tariffs (on some $156 billion of China's remaining exports to the US) is still in place.

Several big events are due this week: The Federal Reserve meets on Wednesday, and new European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde holds her first policy meeting on Thursday, the same day as Britain's parliamentary election. This marks the first year-on-year growth since April.

OPEC and allies officially agreed on Friday to cut production by an additional 500,000 barrels per day beginning next month.

Asian markets were mixed Monday as investors struggled to track a rally on Wall Street that was fuelled by a forecast-busting United States jobs report, while there was little inspiration from tepid Chinese trade data.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 108.47 Japanese yen from 108.59 yen on Friday.

Imports of copper rose 12.1% on the previous month as an improvement in the manufacturing sector stoked higher demand for the red metal, customs data showed on Sunday.

On currency markets the pound was holding gains just days ahead of the United Kingdom general election, which is expected to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives win a big enough majority to push through his Brexit deal.