It’s A Ping Pong Market Over U.S.-China Trade Talks

Overnight financial markets tumbled on fears that U.S.-China talks to end their trade war were looking at failure.

Today stocks are up again as hopes for a so-called “mini-deal” have advanced as China signaled that it might be open to such a limited deal, as reports indicted that the U.S. might be willing to back off on the additional round of tariffs due to go into force next week in exchange for the currency pact that the Trump administration had proposed back in May, and as the White House said that President Donald Trump will meet tomorrow with China’s vice-premier, Liu He, who is leading China’s trade delegation. (The President almost immediately negated some of the positive effects of that last piece of news by tweeting “Big day of negotiations with China. They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House.” In addition there are very few details on what a currency pact might contain.)

As of 2:30 p.m. New York time today the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 0.51% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher by 0.41%. The NASDAQ Composite had gained 0.40% and the Russell 2000 had climbed 0.31%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) was up 0.35%.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury climbed 7 basis points to 1.65% as some bond traders and investors who had sought the safe haven of the Treasury market sold, figuring they had a slightly lower need for safety. The 2-year Treasury traded with a yield of 1.52%.

Crude, which tends to trade these days with hope/fear over growth in the global economy, showed U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate gaining 1.79% to $53.53 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crude moved ahead 1.32% to $59.09 a barrel.

Safe-haven-asset gold fell 0.75% to $1501.40 an once. Silver dropped 1.21% to $17.60 an ounce.

The dollar fell with the Dollar Spot Index losing 0.42%.

I’d note that despite all the trade/tariff sturm and drang U.S. stocks today trade just about where they were when President Trump began his trade wars.

One thing to watch in the near term is what’s called “short gamma” exposure by options dealers and traders who sold put contracts to traders who wanted to protect against a market drop. Those put sellers then sold shares to hedge as markets indeed fell. They will now have to buy shares if markets move higher. They would have to sell more shares, if markets fell. That would exacerbate any market move either higher or lower.

Nomura Securities told Bloomberg today that short gamma exposure currently stands at about $6.88 billion, which is enough, Nomura concluded, to keep the market chasing news from the U.S.-China talks that continue tomorrow, Friday.