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Dow Falters But Trump U-Turn Fails to Frighten Stock Market Bulls

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:16 PM
Francois Aure
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:16 PM
  • Stocks fell on Friday after Donald Trump pushed back against reports he would remove tariffs on Chinese goods.
  • Sentiment in the Dow Jones was supported by diminishing fears of a US-EU trade war.
  • Nordea anticipates that the Dow will move sideways with an upward bias heading into Christmas.

The Dow Jones declined on Friday after President Trump pushed back against the narrative that he was prepared to roll back tariffs on China.

Cushioning the blow to the Dow, comments from the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker that Trump would not start a trade war against Europe helped support risk appetite.

Despite the uncertainty, markets remain close to record highs, and Nordea Asset Management anticipates stable trading for the stock market heading into December.

Dow Jones and S&P 500 Fall; Nasdaq Clings to Gains

dow jones industrial average chart
The Dow Jones slipped on Friday as Trump confirmed analyst fears with his reluctance to commit to the removal of tariffs in December. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

There was not a considerable amount of volatility in the major US stock market indices  on Friday. The Nasdaq led the way with a minor 0.16% gain, while the S&P 500 traded flat and the Dow Jones Industrial Average limped lower.

Shortly before the closing bell, the Dow had declined 52.68 points or 0.19% to settle at 27,622.12.

A sizable rally in the US dollar provided some additional pressure on stocks, with the rise in the DXY sending the gold price to its worst performance in years.

What’s Moving the Stock Market Today

While there are concerns over the state of the trade war between the US and China, in Europe, the EU’s president remains confident that Trump will not pursue a trade war  by targeting their automobile exports. Given Trump’s tendency for official policy to clash with his public comments, Dow bulls are unlikely to be trusting Juncker’s opinion at face value.

Additional news that could be significant for the Dow Jones outlook is the imminent arrival of Michael Bloomberg into the fight for the Democratic nomination in 2020. Bloomberg would be an extremely market-friendly option to counter the rise of left-wing candidate Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Billionaire.
Elizabeth Warren wasted no time before going after newly-minted 2020 candidate Michael Bloomberg. | Source: Twitter 

On the data front, Michigan Consumer Expectations beat forecasts, but the sentiment portion of this report was slightly lower than anticipated .

Trump Wobbles Dow with Tariff Rollback Comment

A classic example of what makes US trade policy so tricky for investors was highlighted in Washington when Trump walked back headlines that the US was working with China to roll back tariffs.

Speaking to reporters, the president sent the Dow Jones drifting lower after stating that China wanted the levies removed, but he was not prepared to do that at this time.

The comments come just hours after reports surfaced that several White House advisers had pushed back firmly against the initial plan to de-escalate the trade war so dramatically.

This didn’t come as a surprise to the many analysts who warned that removing tariffs would eliminate US leverage in future rounds of trade talks.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer actually predicted this would happen a couple of days on his “Mad Money” show, outlining that China had yet to show enough good faith for the US to make any significant concessions .

Strategist: Smooth Sailing for the Stock Market Through December

While uncertainty reigns over when the initial trade agreement between the US and China will be signed, record highs still suggest a good deal of optimism remains in the stock market.

In remarks shared with CCN.com, Sebastian Galy, Senior Macro Strategist at Nordea Asset Management, predicted that a buoyant Dow Jones is unlikely to hit many bumps before Christmas:

Equities have been rallying on hopes of a phase one deal between the United States and China and excessively bearish earnings expectation on the back of a recession meme. Looking ahead, a few spanners could hit the wheel though the odds are that we can still cruise into December before a phase of consolidation. Broadly speaking, we still believe that we are in a sideways market with a mild positive drift.

Dow 30 Stocks: Disney Buoyant on Earnings Beat

A quiet close to the week in the Dow 30  saw the Disney leading with a monster rally of more than 3.15%. Impressive earnings appeared to be the catalyst for the bounce in DIS , allying with optimism around the company’s aggressive foray into the streaming wars with Disney+.

Exxon Mobil was one of the worst-performing stocks in the Dow Jones, losing 1.91%. XOM is now up just 3% on the year, underperforming the index average by 15%.

Apple and Boeing also proved to be a drag on the index, with heavily weighted BA sliding 1.42%.

Click here for a live Dow Jones Industrial Average chart.