Stocks rose Wednesday on hopes of a partial trade deal between the US and China — despite tensions bubbling over to such a degree that the National Basketball Association has become persona non grata in the world’s most populous nation.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 180 points as the Chinese trade delegation arrived in DC for a fresh round of trade talks scheduled to kick off Thursday.
Investors were buoyed by reports, including one by Bloomberg News, saying that China is now open to a partial trade deal as long as President Trump agrees to no more tariffs. Earlier this week, the White House’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the US is also amenable to a partial deal.
“We are open to a number of ideas. Some may be short-term, some may be long-term,” Kudlow told reporters outside the White House on Monday.
The Dow closed up 0.7 percent, to 26,346.01, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.9 percent, to 2,919.40, and the Nasdaq ended the day up 1.02 percent, to 7,903.74.
Economists are predicting a deal that rolls back the $360 billion in tariffs Trump has imposed on Chinese goods and cancels some $120 billion in duties China’s president, Xi Jinping, has on US exports. A partial deal could include a postponement of tariffs scheduled to take place over the rest of this year, including a slew of taxes on consumer goods made in China on Dec. 15, amid the holiday shopping season.
But experts also agree that tensions are just too high right now for bigger issues to be addressed, including Trump’s concerns that China steals US technology.
“The expectation for a great deal is probably gone,” Dennis Yang of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business told the AP.
That’s because both countries have been trading in retaliatory blows that would make a Mafia boss blush, including China banning NBA broadcasts to its population of 1.4 billion after a Houston Rockets executive tweeted his support for Hong Kong protesters.
America, meanwhile, has blacklisted 28 Chinese companies over alleged human-rights violations against a Muslim minority group in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China. The US also has restricted visas for Chinese officials involved in alleged abuses, including surveillance and detention camps.
China lashed out Wednesday with an editorial attacking Apple, which makes its iPhones there.
Both economies have a lot to lose, with China on track to post its slowest growth since 1990, and the US Fed noting in minutes released Wednesday that the probability of a recession “had increased notably in recent months.”
Each country’s leader is on the ropes as well, with Trump facing impeachment proceedings and Xi unable to quell large-scale protests in Hong Kong.