Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Stocks - U.S. Futures Fall as Trump Reiterates China Tariff Threats 

© Reuters.  © Reuters. - U.S. futures tumbled on Wednesday after President Donald Trump repeated threats to increase tariffs against China if the two sides do not reach a trade deal soon.

“If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. His comments spooked investors, who have been sensitive to trade developments. Beijing and Washington are working on a “phase one” deal to end their 17-month impasse but so far no details on progress have come forth.

Tensions were exasperated by the U.S. Senate passing legislation backing Hong Kong protesters, that would ban the export of items like tear gas and rubber bullets to the city's police force, as conflict between the two sides escalated this week. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang lashed out against the vote, saying it “seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations.”

The Nasdaq 100 fell 41 points or 0.5% by 6:40 AM ET (11:40 GMT), while Dow futures lost 103 points or 0.4% and S&P 500 futures dropped 10 points or 0.4%.

Urban Outfitters Inc (NASDAQ:URBN) tanked 16.1% after missing third-quarter profit and sales forecasts, with the brand name posting flat same-store sales growth. Pacific Gas & Electric Co (NYSE:PCG) fell 4.7% in premarket trading, while Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) was down 1.3%.

Elsewhere, Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) gained 5% after its earnings came in better than expected and same-store sales rose by 3%. Still, the company failed to beat revenue expectations and said it plans to close 34 stores in Canada.

On the data front, the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s October meeting are released at 2:00 PM ET.

In commodities, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,477.25 a troy ounce, while the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, inched up 0.1% to 97.873. Crude oil futures rose 0.3% to $55.53 a barrel.

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