By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Worth waiting for?
President Donald Trump suggested that he would be happy to wait until after the 2020 election to do a trade deal with China, adding that Beijing wants one now. Stocks futures fell after his comments. In further signs of increasing tensions between the two nations, Chinese state media said the government would soon publish a list of “unreliable entities” which could lead to sanctions against U.S. companies. The next round of tariffs on Chinese goods is due to kick in on Dec. 15, and investors are starting to become concerned that market consensus of a delay in implementation may be proven wrong.
France said the European Union would retaliate if the U.S. follows through on a threat to unleash tariffs on $2.4 billion of exports. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced the move yesterday in response to the imposition of a 3% “digital tax” by Emmanuel Macron’s administration. The levies are due to come into force in early 2020. Both Trump and Macron are in London today for the 70th anniversary of the NATO alliance, with the U.S. president already taking the opportunity to criticize the French tax.
E-commerce platforms such as Amazon.com Inc. were the biggest beneficiaries from yesterday’s record-setting Cyber Monday sales that saw spending jump 17% from a year ago, according to Adobe Inc. The strong performance yesterday comes on the back of record online sales on Black Friday as consumers continue to increasingly move away from brick-and-mortar stores.
President Trump’s comments on the timing of a trade deal are pushing stocks lower. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.4% while Japan’s Topix index, which had closed before Trump spoke on trade, ended the session 0.5% lower. In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index was flat at 6:27 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures were firmly in the red, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.793% and gold higher.
The main event to keep an eye on this morning is the NATO meeting in London, where the U.S. president is already making headlines with comments on trade and France. U.S. auto sales data for November is published later. Salesforce.com Inc. and Workday Inc. are among companies reporting earnings.