Markets opened lower Wednesday (Nov. 20), registering investor skepticism about the progress of the U.S.–China trade talks. According to MarketWatch, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA opened about 67 points, 0.2%, lower, at 27,867.22, while the S&P 500 SPX was nearly 5 points, 0.2%, lower, at the open, at 3,115.31.”
In October, President Trump laid out a “phase-one” deal that required China to make larger agricultural product purchases, tighten rules on intellectual-property theft, and refrain from manipulating its currency in order to reduce the effects of tariffs on China, reports The Wall Street Journal. At that time, the plan was that the deal would be reached within a few weeks to a month.
Now, President Trump has threatened to impose an additional 15% tariff on smartphones, toys, and other products, starting Dec. 15. Some strategists agree with Trump that the imposition of these tariffs is crucial in ensuring that China follows through on key U.S. demands. According to Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, “The only constants in these negotiations are the Chinese backtracking and reneging, and Trump standing firm on his principles—and his tariffs are key.”
Meanwhile, these trade tensions are affecting global growth, and many central banks and governments have been taking monetary and fiscal measures to boost economic growth. Unfortunately, these policies won’t be effective unless a trade deal is made and uncertainty decreases, a Morgan Stanley executive told CNBC. As businesses remain uncertain about global growth outlooks, they’re holding back investments and waiting for the trade tensions to pan out. This uncertainty has caused growth in many countries to slow.
One reason the U.S. is still holding strong in these trade negotiations may be due to the rebound in the U.S. economy in recent months. “A gauge for U.S. services activities topped expectations for October, while the labor market remains solid as jobs creation easily beat estimates last month. Better-than-expected economic data have also pushed U.S. stocks to record highs this month,” reports CNBC. In addition, the U.S. may have a slight upper hand in the negotiations as China’s economic growth has been slowing down.
With a new round of tariffs on the horizon in December, investors, businesses, and economists continue to hope for quick and meaningful progress in the trade talks.
Sectors: The average momentum score for the Sector Benchmark ETFs increased from 15.91 to 17.45. Momentum increased for six of the 11 sectors last week. Real Estate, with a 12-point jump, had the largest increase in momentum score, followed closely by Healthcare, which went up 11 points. Energy, with a 15-point drop, had the largest decrease in momentum score for the week. Technology remained in first place, while Energy replaced Utilities as the laggard.
Factors: Among the Factor Benchmark ETFs, the average factor score increased from 19.17 to 20.67. Momentum increased in six of the 12 factors last week. Momentum, with a 9-point gain, had the largest increase in momentum score for the week. Value, with a 6-point drop, had the largest decrease in momentum score for the week. Quality, with a 5-point jump, overtook Value for the top spot. Low Volatility remained the laggard despite an 8-point increase in momentum score
Global: The average Global Benchmark ETF momentum score decreased from 20.00 to 16.55 for the week. Momentum in the global sector decreased in all but three of the 11 regions last week. Two regions increased in momentum score and one remained neutral. Latin America, with an 11-point drop, had the largest decrease in momentum score for the week. Latin America remained the laggard, and Japan remained in first despite a 5-point decrease in momentum score.