President Trump’s Mixed Messages on Trade Deal Rattle the Stock Market

The stock market whipsawed as the President delivered conflicting messages about ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. Yesterday, the President said that China had broken the deal but suggested that an agreement could still be reached before more tariffs on Chinese goods take effect at midnight tonight. He also added that tariffs were an “excellent” alternative to a deal.

Investors don’t know what to make of the situation. Stock prices were down sharply this morning before recovering ground in the afternoon. The Dow and S&P indexes ended the day off 0.54 percent and 0.3 percent respectively while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.41 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ closed the day with a loss of 0.33 percent.

Technology stocks were generally down. Twitter (0.54 percent), Verisign Inc.(0.3 percent) and Cognizant Technology (0.2 percent) had small gains. TripAdvisor Inc. was also up 0.33 percent. It fell 11.4 percent yesterday after the company reported financial results.

All four FAANG stocks on the index were in the red with Amazon (-0.93 percent) and Facebook (0.47 percent) down the most. Economy and trade-sensitive chipmaker NVIDIA Corp., down more than three percent in the morning, ended the day with a 2.14 percent loss.

Other multinational companies, particularly those with exposure to the Chinese economy, were also down sharply. Cosmetics-maker Estee Lauder Companiesdeclined by more than two percent in the morning, but rallied to post a smaller loss of 0.85 percent. Ford Motor Co. fell 1.35 percent.

The two drug-makers on the Entrepreneur Index™, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, fell 1.47 percent and 1.41 percent respectively. Alexion is still up 35.3 percent this year while Regeneron, which reported weak earnings on Tuesday, is down 13.2 percent.

Investment bank Jefferies Financial Group was down 1.16 percent and whiskey-maker Brown-Forman Corp. lost 1.0 percent. Tesla fell for the third consecutive day, dropping 1.17 percent. The shares are down 27.3 percent this year.

Solid gains on the Entrepreneur Index™ were few and far between. Retailer Bed Bath & Beyond had the biggest, rising 1.2 percent. The stock has jumped 42 percent this year as the market hopes activist investors can help whip the struggling retailer into shape.

Ralph Lauren Corp. was up 1.04 percent after getting an upgrade to outperform from an RBC Capital Markets analyst. Medical products maker Boston Scientific and food-maker J.M. Smucker Company were the only other stocks on the index to gain more than one percent. They were up 1.01 percent and 1.08 percent respectively.

Other gains on the index included homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. (0.9 percent), retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. (0.88 percent) and Comcast (0.87 percent).

Ride-sharing firm Uber Technologies will float its initial public offering into an uncertain market tomorrow.

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