Futures Down on China's Remark

Pre-market futures had begun Monday morning trading in the green, looking to put new highs in play on the three major U.S. indexes. Friday brought fresh all-time levels to the S&P 500, Nasdaq and especially the Dow, which crossed a psychologically pleasing 28,000 threshold.

But roughly an hour before the opening bell to begin a new trading week, indexes began to slip into the red, and rather uniformly. No major news items have hit the tape in real time, though as traders turn on their machines for a new workweek, reflections on the expected “phase one” trade deal with China appears less likely than investors had been hoping.

CNBC reported this morning that Beijing’s mood regarding moving toward a trade deal has cooled, as President Trump’s reluctance to roll back planned tariffs 4 weeks from now has dampened expectations for the phase one deal to be reached. A government official remarked that China believed the rollbacks had already been agreed-upon by both sides, but Trump has more recently inferred those tariffs remain on the table.

So far, China has seen half a trillion dollars’ worth of tariffs slapped onto its imported goods to America, while $110 billion in U.S. exports have been affected in kind on the other side of the Pacific. The government official reported to CNBC’s Eunice Yoon that China will now “talk but wait due to impeachment, U.S. election…” Meaning Beijing appears in no hurry to give Trump the political win in the trade war he seeks ahead of November 2020.

We expect a new Home Builders’ Index for November after the market opens this morning, and Housings Starts/Building Permits data tomorrow morning. With Q3 earnings season winding down — aside from many retail companies yet to report — we look for economic markers like these to help propel markets further into record-high territory.

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