Markets

Renewed Trade Uncertainty Leads To Choppy Trading On Wall Street

(RTTNews) - With traders once again retreating to the sidelines amid renewed uncertainty about a potential U.S.-China trade deal, stocks are turning in another lackluster performance in morning trading on Friday. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 13.81 points or 0.2 percent at 8,448.32, the Dow is down 48.55 points or 0.2 percent at 27,626.25 and the S&P 500 is down 1.85 points or 0.1 percent at 3,083.33.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders digest conflicting information regarding negotiations of a U.S.-China trade deal.

Comments from a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman indicating the U.S. and China had agreed to roll back existing tariffs as part of a phase one trade deal contributed to strength in the markets on Thursday.

However, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that he has not agreed to lift the tariffs on China.

The comments from Trump come after a report from Reuters said the idea of rolling back tariffs faces fierce internal opposition from the president's advisers.

Multiple sources familiar with the talks told Reuters the idea of a tariff rollback was not part of the original October "handshake" deal between Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Citing current and former administration officials, Reuters said there is a divide within the administration over whether rolling back tariffs will give away U.S. leverage in the negotiations.

The latest reports have sparked renewed uncertainty about what type of trade deal Trump will ultimately be willing to accept.

Trump has repeatedly criticized past administrations for being too weak on China, but he would also like a big political victory ahead of next year's presidential election.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the University of Michigan showing a slight improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of November.

The report said the consumer sentiment index inched up to 95.7 in November after rising to 95.5 in October. Economists had expected to index to tick up to 95.9.

"The early November reading on consumer sentiment was nearly identical to last month's and the average 2019 level (95.6)," said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

He added, "Consumers did voice a slightly more positive outlook for the economy, which was offset by a slightly less favorable outlook for their own personal finances."

Curtin said one-in-four consumers spontaneously made negative references to tariffs but noted references to the impact of Trump's impeachment on economic prospects were virtually non-existent.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Significant strength is visible among networking stocks, however, with Ubiquiti (UI) and Viasat (VSAT) posting standout gains after reporting better than expected quarterly results.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has fallen by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.4 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after seeing initial weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 1.921 percent.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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