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Dec. 3, 2019, 4:40 p.m. EST

Stocks fall after Trump says China deal may be best after 2020 election

U.S. stocks suffer third straight day of declines

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By Chris Matthews, MarketWatch , Clive McKeef


AFP/Getty Images

Stocks trimmed early losses but still suffered a third straight day of declines Tuesday, after President Donald Trump said it may take until after the 2020 U.S. elections to complete a trade deal with China, while trade tensions escalated on other fronts, including Brazil, Argentina and France.

What did major indexes do?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.17% ended 280.23 points lower, down 1%, at 27,502.81, for its biggest one-day point and percentage drop since Oct. 8. The Dow fell nearly 458 points at its session low in morning trade. The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.39% finished with a loss of 20.67 points, or 0.7%, at 3,093.20, while the Nasdaq Composite Index  /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.34% retreated 47.34 points, or 0.6%, ending at 8,520.64.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks slumped after Trump said at a news conference in London, where he was attending a NATO meeting, that he had “no deadline” when it comes to concluding the two-year-old U.S.-China trade talks.

Read: What a ‘no-deal’ U.S.-China trade scenario would mean for stocks and bonds

“In some ways, I think it’s better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth. But I’m not going to say that, I just think that,” Trump said.

In apparent response to the president’s comments, a Chinese news outlet associated with the ruling Communist Party, the Global Times, tweeted that China’s government is prepared for “even the worst-case scenario.”

Meanwhile, on Monday the President tweeted that he was bringing back tariffs on Brazilian and Argentinian steel, while the administration also proposed tariffs of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in French imports.

Major stock indexes rallied to a series of record highs in November, but investors and analysts have warned that markets could be in for a rougher ride if concrete progress isn’t seen ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for another round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.

Some analysts remained hopeful that stocks can recover from Tuesday’s selloff.

“We have seen this movie many times before, however, where the president throws out remarks during trade talks that in retrospect have just been a negotiating tactic, especially when he starts off by saying China wants a deal more than he does,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist with MUFG.

“We still think a phase-one deal is coming, although it is likely to go down to the final deadline of Dec. 15. Markets are trapped by the changing news, but this is exactly like a reality TV show where the outcome continues to be drawn-out to the bitter end,” he said. “The president can’t afford for stocks to crater, that much is clear, with an election hanging in the balance less than a year away. “

Read: Was Trump talk bluster or was he hinting that China talks could collapse?

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
29,348.10
+50.46 +0.17%
Volume: 321.82M
Jan. 17, 2020 4:20p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,329.62
+12.81 +0.39%
Volume: 2.10B
Jan. 17, 2020 4:20p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
9,388.94
+31.81 +0.34%
Volume: 2.31M
Jan. 17, 2020 4:47p
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