Off The Wire
Trade deal doubts clip world stock rally, oil wavers
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices faltered and global equity markets slid on Friday, halting a week-long record-setting rally on hopes a U.S.-China trade deal was near, as investors parsed statements from Beijing and Washington on where they stand on rolling back tariffs.
This week’s optimism about the potential for a deal darkened as fierce opposition from the White House to rolling back existing tariffs surfaced on Thursday. On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump reinforced the sentiment, telling reporters he has not agreed to the rollback of tariffs sought by China and that Beijing wanted to make a deal more than he did.
The dollar rose to a three-week high, lifted by safe-haven bids, as risk appetite for higher-yielding currencies was curtailed by the uncertainty over the tariff rollback, a major component of a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal.
Skepticism about the strength of the economy and corporate results is driving fear of more weakness ahead, said Christopher Smart, chief global strategist at Barings.
“I’m less convinced that we’re headed for a durable trade peace with China,” he said.
“It’s very difficult of course to forecast what this administration will or will not agree to, but it’s going to be hard to keep the peace going into an election year,” Smart said. “People are still pretty pessimistic.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.18% but remained less than 2% from an all-time high set in January 2018. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 0.28%, snapping a five-day winning streak, while Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX index fell 0.46%.
Stocks on Wall Street were mixed as uncertainty about a deal capped a record run for U.S. equities. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at all-time highs on Thursday, while the Nasdaq just missed a record close set earlier in the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 52.81 points, or 0.19%, to 27,621.99 and the S&P 500 lost 0.61 points, or 0.02%, to 3,084.57. The Nasdaq Composite added 14.65 points, or 0.17%, to 8,449.16.
Earlier in Asia, shares retreated from six-month highs.
Investor sentiment is likely to continue to support risk assets as efforts are made to reach a trade deal, said Brian Daingerfield, head of G10 FX strategy at Natwest Markets in Stamford, Connecticut.
“The fact that there is some discussion of moving existing tariffs leans more positive,” Daingerfield said.
The dollar index rose 0.19%, with the euro down 0.26% to $1.102. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.13% versus the greenback at 109.15 per dollar.
U.S. Treasury yields traded mostly below three-month highs while Germany’s 10-year bond yield slid from five-month highs.
The yield on benchmark 10-year German bunds was one basis point lower at -0.26%.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 3/32 in price to push their yield up to 1.9312%.
Gold extended losses to a three-month low and were on track for their biggest weekly decline in almost three years.
U.S. gold futures settled down 0.2% at $1,462.90.
Oil prices pared losses after earlier falling more than 1% following Trump’s comments.
Benchmark Brent crude fell 80 cents to $61.49 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 9 cents to settle at $57.24 a barrel.
“Given the volatility around the U.S.-China trade saga, it’s hard to be short over the weekend,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC. “The turn of a phrase could restore the very hopes that were dashed just last night over a deal being struck.”
Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sonya Hepinstall