The Dow blasted higher on Tuesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent Wall Street a save the date for the next round of US-China trade talks and owned the blame for China’s apparent snub of US farmers during a preliminary visit last week.
The S&P 500 reclaimed the 3,000 level, rising 10.16 points or 0.34% to 3,001.94.
The Nasdaq rounded out a positive open on Wall Street with a market-best 37.17 point or 0.45% jump to 8,149.13.
Mnuchin teed up the markets for a bullish bump when he revealed that the next round of top-level trade discussions would take place in two weeks.
“I think it’s not next week, but the following week we’ll be having those talks,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin added that he expects to build on the progress made between lower-level negotiators during last week’s preliminary visit.
That comment was particularly notable because the Dow and other major stock indices recoiled last Friday (Sept. 20) after Chinese officials shocked the market by cutting their trip short and appearing to snub Trump by skipping a planned visit with US farmers.
According to Mnuchin, the early departure wasn’t a snub. Rather, he claimed, it was “purely at our request,” and the visit would be rescheduled.
Mnuchin’s remarks helped calm a stock market eager to seize on positive trade war news, but it triggered an awkward exchange between him and President Trump, who was sitting nearby.
“Why was that our request? Just out of curiosity,” Trump inquired. “Yeah, but I want them to buy farm products,” he quickly retorted after Mnuchin replied that it was to avoid “confusion around the trade issues.”
To Trump’s delight, China is buying more farm products. Bloomberg reports that China purchased between 2 million and 3 million tons of US soybeans after Beijing distributed tariff waivers for specific US agricultural goods. However, the purchases did little to move the price of soybean futures.
Mnuchin’s interview did more than just boost the Dow on Tuesday. Hong Kong and Chinese stock markets also traded higher on the positive trade war spin. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.22% to 26,281, snapping a streak of six straight losses. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.28% to 2,985.34.
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This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.