United States stocks trade lower amid jobs data

Andrew Cummings
December 8, 2019

US stocks edged lower Thursday as investors parsed the latest headlines on the trade dispute with China and looked ahead to Friday's jobs report.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7% to 26,401.47, while the Nikkei 225 in Japan picked up 0.2% to 23,352.81. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8% to 2,076.93, while the Shanghai Composite Index remained unchanged at 2,900.72. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.2% to 6,697.40. Stocks fell in Taiwan. Stocks flatlined most of the session as investors took to the sidelines ahead of Friday's U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls report. -China trade deal until after next year's presidential election. It is arguably the only game in town scheduled for the next bargaining round before December 15, "the Mizuho Bank said in a commentary".

At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated the Trump administration has not ruled out imposing tariffs on imported European autos, regardless of not announcing a decision in November on whether or not to place extra levies on cars within the region.

"However, there is still no clarity about the deal. But soothing remarks on "progress" from those involved in the talks appears to have infused some hope and cut tensions", the Mizuho report said. They'll get a better sense of that Friday, when the Labor Department issues its November tally of hiring by nonfarm employers. Economists expect the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.6%.

"This market is trading under the assumption that global growth has put a bottom in and is in the process of recovering, and nothing in the data we've seen today disputes that conclusion", said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments. The S&P 500 erased 0.62 point, or 0.02 percent, to 3,112.14. The index is on track for a losing week, but it's still up 24% for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 28.01 points, or 0.10 percent, to 27,677.79.

Chinese officials said Thursday that hinges on whether the USA will agree to roll back some of the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump after he began his effort to win trade concessions from Beijing in mid-2018.

Technology stocks were among the biggest winners on Thursday. ViacomCBS led the sector, climbing 3.6%.

Because of the overall strong economy combined with the ebb and flow of the trade negotiations, Shinn predicts a steady, but not spectacular 2020.

United Airlines declined 0.4% after CEO Oscar Munoz resigned from his post and became executive chairman.

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