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Stock market news: October 14, 2019

Stock futures fell Monday after a report that Beijing is seeking more talks before signing a preliminary trade deal trounced earlier optimism over slackening tensions between the U.S. and China.

Here were the main moves during the pre-market session, as of 8:00 a.m. ET:
  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -0.24%, or 7 points
  • Dow futures (YM=F): -0.25%, or 66 points
  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -0.29%, or 22.5 points
  • Crude oil (CL=F): -1.99% to $53.61 per barrel
  • Gold (GC=F): +0.79% to $1,500.40 per ounce
China is looking to meet to work out more details of the “phase one” trade deal President Donald Trump presented late last week, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. China reportedly wants the Trump administration to do away with a planned tariff hike in December, on top of its existing plan to scrap a tariff increase previously scheduled to take place Tuesday.
Later Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he expects the tariffs will take effect in December if no deal materializes between the two countries.
“But I expect we’ll have a deal,” Mnuchin said on CNBC.
The Bloomberg report undermines investors’ hopes that Trump’s “substantial phase one deal” would be codified in writing soon, with Trump having said previously that the deal would take between three to five weeks to write and could be signed before November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile.
Many economists, however, had doubted the credibility of the partial trade deal to begin with, noting both sides’ history of flip-flopping whenever new headway appeared to have been made. Plus, deeper structural sticking points remain between the U.S. and China, which won’t be easily resolved with temporary solutions.


A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market opened in New York. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“The fact that the talks shifted towards a ‘first phase’ covering narrow issues around trade only reveals how difficult the deeper issues around intellectual property, technology transfer and industrial strategy will be to resolve,” Neil Shearing, chief economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note. “As things stand there is no obvious path to a ‘phase two’ deal covering these broader concerns.’”
China’s economy – the second largest in the world – has continued to weaken in the face of ongoing trade tensions. China’s imports fell 8.5% in September, marking a ninth decline over the past 10 readings and reflecting weakening import demand trends for the country. Exports also declined, falling 3.2% in September from the year prior. Both imports and exports fell more-than-expected for the month.
Taken together, China’s trade surplus grew 14% over last year to $39.65 billion for September.
The country’s trade surplus with the U.S., however, narrowed slightly on a monthly basis to $25.88 billion in September, from $26.96 billion in August. But imports from the U.S. fell 16% over last year in September, and exports to the U.S. declined nearly 22%.
The U.S. economic release calendar remains light Monday, with the credit market closed in observance of Columbus Day. Third-quarter corporate earnings results are set to pick up Tuesday, headlined by big banks including Citi (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

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