U.S. Stocks Mixed Amid Conflicting Signs on Trade: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. equities were mixed following losses in Europe and Asia as traders weighed conflicting signals about the outlook for a trade deal between Beijing and Washington.

Declines slightly outnumbered gains on the S&P 500 Index. The dollar held steady and Treasuries dipped as China’s chief trade negotiator reportedly said he was “cautiously optimistic” about reaching a phase-one accord. Pessimists focused on speculation Donald Trump may sign legislation backing Hong Kong protesters, setting up further conflict between the nations. TD Ameritrade soared on reports that Charles Schwab (NYSE:) Corp. is in talks to buy the brokerage.

Hong Kong’s deteriorating situation may prove crucial to the trade talks, and on Thursday a commentary from China’s state-run news agency accused the U.S. of applying a double standard. China has threatened to retaliate for the passage of the American bill and said supporting the protesters was a “gross” interference in Hong Kong affairs. With stocks still within 1% of a record high, traders will be watching for signs of progress ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for further tariffs.

“Investors now are starting to worry again that we may not see that phase one in 2019,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA. “It’s going to be tough to have the next leg up without a trade deal.”

Elsewhere, oil futures rose. European bonds tracked Treasuries lower and emerging-market stocks slid.

Here are some key events coming up this week:

  • Economic indicators due for release include U.S. and European PMI data for November on Friday.

These are the main moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 Index was little changed as of 2:23 p.m. New York time.
  • The Index dipped 0.4%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.7%.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index fell 0.8%.


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
  • The euro slipped 0.1% to $1.1059.
  • The British pound slid 0.2% to $1.2899.
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 108.64 per dollar.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries increased three basis points to 1.78%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield increased two basis points to -0.33%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield jumped two basis points to 0.75%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude gained 2.4% to $58.46 a barrel.
  • Gold decreased 0.5% to $1,463.81 an ounce.
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