A US Senate vote in support of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong led markets to expect trouble for a mooted China-US trade agreement
New York (AFP) - Stock markets slid lower Wednesday on revived concerns about a China-US trade deal after US lawmakers passed legislation to support Hong Kong civil rights, sparking anger in Beijing.
The move in the US Congress adds to the questions surrounding the talks following comments in recent days by President Donald Trump that have dampened expectations.
“The global trading wind changed direction on Wednesday with benchmarks across the world drifting lower,” ActivTrades analyst Pierre Veyret said, noting the shift “was caused by the US Senate passing legislation supporting protesters in Hong Kong.”
“Most investors now fear it could significantly impair negotiations and the signing of a ‘phase-one’ deal with Beijing,” he added.
Bourses in Asia, Europe and the United States all fell.
The US Senate adopted legislation Tuesday that supported “human rights and democracy” in Hong Kong and threatened to revoke its special economic status.
Beijing summoned a US diplomat and threatened counter-measures.
And US stocks sank in mid-afternoon trading following a Reuters report saying the partial trade deal Trump announced last month with China may not be completed before the end of this year.
But some investors engaged in bargain-shopping at the dip. The broad-based S&P 500 ended down 0.4 percent after losing nearly one percent at the low point.
“You can see that it has been paring some of these losses,” Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told AFP. “If we pare the losses, it suggests that traders and investors think there’s still hope for a phase one deal.”
Trump told reporters again on Wednesday that talks with Beijing continued but he felt no pressure to strike a bargain.
“I don’t think they’ve stepped up,” Trump said.
On Tuesday, the US president said he could raise tariffs on Chinese goods if the deal is not finalized.
Crude oil prices, meanwhile, surged after a rise in US energy stocks turned out to be weaker than expected.
On the corporate front, Chinese online retail titan Alibaba said it could raise almost $13 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest IPO for nearly a decade after announcing the pricing of shares for the mega sale.
In New York, big-box retailer Target soared 14.3 percent – its best day since August 21 – after reporting higher third-quarter earnings on a 4.5 percent increase in comparable store sales.
- Key figures around 2200 GMT -
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 27,821.09 (close)
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,108.46 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5 percent at 8,526.73 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,262.49 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 13,158.14 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 5,894.03 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,683.88 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 23,148.57 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 26,889.61 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,911.05 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1072 from $1.1078 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2922 from $1.2926
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.67 pence from 85.71 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 108.62 yen from 108.54 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.4 percent at $62.40 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 3.4 percent at $57.11 per barrel