Friday, November 22, 2019

Stocks Lose Ground As US-China Trade Deal Stalls

Though not quite as quiet as last week, trading on US exchanges has been slow as the year winds down and the holiday season approaches.

What differentiates this week from last is the tenor of the trade, noticeably negative, with all of the major indices lower heading into Friday. The losses have not been significant, but Thursday marked three straight sessions in the red.

Losses have been very limited, however, with the Dow leading the downside, off by 0.81% through Thursday. Even a modest gain on Friday would push the averages back into record territory. The S&P 500 needs a gain of just 20 points to break out to new all-time highs.

There is still abundant interest in US-China trade relations, though the market has grown a bit weary of the on-again, off-again nature of the negotiations and is likely pricing in a positive outcome. This stalemate of sorts could last another year, with the Chinese playing the waiting game.

President Trump is up for re-election in November, 2020, and Chinese leaders are watching political developments in the US with jaded eyes. having Trump out of the way would suit their purposes. Getting back to the monstrous trade deficit imposed upon the US over the years seems to be the ultimate aim for China. Nobody wants to give up on a good thing, and trade relations with the US have been nothing short of spectacular for China over the past 30 years. Trump vowed to put an end to those practices in his election campaign and he's stuck to his guns, dealing the Chinese a hand they thought they'd never have to play.

A negative view of the ongoing feud would be an escalation of tariffs, leading to an overall slowdown and possible military actions. No wonder the market is pricing in a positive conclusion, because the alternative is more disruptive than anybody would ever hope.

At the Close, Thursday, November 21, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,766.29, -54.80 (-0.20%)
NASDAQ: 8,506.21, -20.52 (-0.24%)
S&P 500: 3,103.54, -4.92 (-0.16%)
NYSE Composite: 13,406.42, -12.89 (-0.10%)

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