Stocks Slip as Trade Hopes Fade
By Will Horner
Global stocks pulled back Friday as optimism waned regarding the U.S. and China making progress in resolving the trade war.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average index were mostly flat. The Stoxx Europe 600 gauge fell 0.2%. Stocks in Asia also pulled back, with the Hang Seng declining 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite Index losing 0.5%.
While markets had begun betting that a partial trade deal would be accompanied by a rolling-back of existing tariffs, questions remain about President Donald Trump's commitment to offering such concessions. On the same day that China said Beijing and Washington have agreed to mutually lift some tariffs as part of a "phase-one" deal, Peter Navarro, a senior U.S. trade adviser, said there was no formal agreement in place and the final decision would lie with Mr. Trump.
"Until we actually see some type of trade deal, the level of uncertainty -- which ultimately will translate into volatility in the market -- will persist," said Brian O'Reilly, head of investment strategy at the Dublin-based Mediolanum International Funds. "Today, we are just seeing a bit of a recalibration of that over-optimism from a news headline without any hard facts."
Ahead of the New York opening bell, Gap Inc. slumped nearly 10% after the apparel maker pared its profit targets for the year and said Chief Executive Art Peck would step down immediately. Walt Disney Co. shares climbed 5% in offhours trading after its earnings beat analysts' expectations.
Within European equities, Cartier's parent Cie. Financière Richemont slipped 4.8% after the Swiss luxury-goods company's earnings fell short of what analysts expected.
Later on Friday, global markets, which have also been buoyed lately by signs that a U.S. recession isn't imminent, will gauge signals from a measure of consumer sentiment due to be released by the University of Michigan.
Meanwhile, Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 1.7%.