It was largely a case of ‘steady as she goes’ on markets, with traders circumspect ahead of the upcoming G20 summit while at the same time also trying to decipher the latest state-of-play regarding the critical US-China trade standoff.
Comments from President Trump that the US may be going ahead with additional tariffs on China initially put the market on the defensive, however this was offset when White House Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said that discussions with Chinese officials regarding trade were ongoing.
With the global financial market very sensitive to the prospect of a prolonged trade war between the two biggest economies, the upcoming meeting between President’s Trump and Xi could have massive influence on whether markets take a risk-on or risk-off approach between now and year-end.
US equities switched from negative to positive but the moves on either side were limited ahead of not only the G20 but also a speech due to be delivered on Wednesday (US time) by FOMC Chairman Jerome Powell. Notably, shares in Apple Inc. continued their recent poor form, this time due to comments from President Trump that a 10% tariff on iPhones imported from China could be imposed. To what degree this kind of talk is just a part of the process of moving towards a trade agreement with China remains to be seen. But for the day, shares in Apple Inc. were 0.6% lower heading into the close.
A stronger US Dollar performance saw the Gold price fall, with the spot price moving US$9.70 lower to US$1212.70 per ounce. Meanwhile the price of crude oil was basically flat, with the WTI contract settling a mere 7 cents lower at US$51.56. Commodity traders appear to be waiting for further signs one way or the other just what measures (if any) Saudi Arabia may take regarding production cuts.
So, while today was a day of limited moves among many of the major assets, more volatility may not be far ahead with the G20 summit just around the corner.
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Stocks soar, powered by first-rate earnings and a dazzling run of economic data; Gold plays catch as G10 falls flat while oil basks in the afterglow