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Stocks dip as Trump raises doubts about China trade talks

Trump announces new tariff on Chinese goods
  • Stocks edged down on Friday after President Donald Trump suggested a planned meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials next month may not take place.
  • The president also accused China of manipulating its currency and said U.S. tariffs on China have been "amazing." 
  • A standoff persists over U.S. restrictions on companies doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei and China's reluctance to ramp up purchases of American farm goods.

Stocks resumed their decline, capping a turbulent week dominated by concerns over an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.

Benchmark indexes closed lower Friday, and the losses accelerated after President Donald Trump suggested a meeting on trade with China next month may not take place.

"[W]hat happened and what's happening with China now, we have an open dialogue, we'll see whether or not we keep our meeting in September, if we do that's fine, if we don't that's fine," Mr. Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for fundraising events in New York before heading for a working vacation from his New Jersey golf club.

The president also accused China of manipulating its currency and said U.S. tariffs on China have been "amazing." 

Trump: "Fine with me" if China doesn't trade with us anymore

The Dow fell 90 points, or 0.3%, to 26,287. The S&P 500 declined 0.7% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq lost 1%. The indexes fell after recording a strong gain on Thursday.

Technology and communications companies were among the biggest losers in early trading. Nvidia slumped 3.7% and Netflix lost 2.6%. Chipmaker Micron Technology lost 2.6% and TripAdvisor fell 1.3%.

"Escalation more likely"

A new round of tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods is set to kick in Sept. 1. Markets received another jolt on Monday when China retaliated by letting the value of its currency fall to the lowest level since 2008, raising fears of a currency war between the world's two biggest economies.

Experts are pessimistic about the prospects for a trade pact in the near term, with some saying a deal is unlikely before the 2020 presidential election. According to analysts with Eurasia Group, which advises investors on political risks, China President Xi Jinping is increasingly wary of being seen as capitulating to U.S. pressure. 

A standoff also continues to persist over U.S. restrictions on companies doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei and China's reluctance to ramp up purchases of American farm goods. 

"China's announcement this week that it is halting purchases of U.S. agricultural products in response to the tariff threat led to a reported indefinite freeze to the Commerce Department's consideration of granting licenses for U.S. tech companies to resume some business with Huawei," analysts with Raymond James said in a research note. "The administration continues to tie the easing of restrictions on Huawei to China's commitments on agricultural purchases, and the accelerating skirmish makes escalation more likely in the near-term rather than a return to constructive dialogue."

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