Stocks are climbing despite Trump's latest China barbs as rate cut hopes buoy markets - the trade war is 'back in focus'

stock trader happyAssociated Press

  • Stocks climbed on Friday as the growing prospect of a cut to US interest rates this month outweighed renewed tensions in the US-China trade war, an unexpected contraction in Singapore, and uninspiring Chinese trade data.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that the central bank is largely in agreement that "more accommodative monetary policy may be appropriate."
  • However, Trump accused China of "letting us down" by not purchasing US agricultural products as promised.
  • "Unhappy Trump brought the trade war back in focus, reminding investors that the year-old trade battle between the US and China is far from being over," one analyst said.
  • View Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

Stocks climbed on Friday as the growing prospect of a cut to US interest rates this month outweighed renewed tensions in the US-China trade war, an unexpected contraction in Singapore, and uninspiring Chinese trade data.

In a speech to Congress on Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell flagged trade fears, slowing global growth, and low inflation as threats to business investment and continued economic expansion. "I think many of my colleagues have come to the view that a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy may be appropriate," he said, according to Reuters.

However, President Donald Trump's latest criticism of China threatened to weigh on market sentiment. "China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would," he wrote on Twitter. "Hopefully they will start soon!"

"Unhappy Trump brought the trade war back in focus, reminding investors that the year-old trade battle between the US and China is far from being over," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group.

Meanwhile, a slowdown in Singapore highlighted the impact of the trade war on economic growth. The Asian nation's GDP slumped by 3.4% in the second quarter, shocking analysts who had expected quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.1%. Its GDP also inched up just 0.1% from the same period last year, well below the 1.1% growth predicted by a Reuters poll of economists.

Chinese trade data for June was also released on Friday, showing a 1.3% drop in exports and a 7.3% slump in imports that highlighted the continued impact of the trade war.

"US-China trade tensions continue to loom over global sentiment, with investors still awaiting developments from the revived negotiations between the world's two largest economies," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM.

"Risk appetite will be hit by a steeper deterioration in the global growth outlook, although such downcast sentiment could be mitigated by the prospects of incoming stimulus from major central banks."

Here's the market roundup as of 9:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m. ET):

Asian stocks rose with the Shanghai Composite up 0.4%, Japan's Nikkei up 0.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 0.2%.

European equities were mixed with Germany's DAX down 0.2%, the Euro Stoxx 50 flat, and Britain's FTSE 100 up 0.2%.

US markets are set to open higher with futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2%, and S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures up 0.1%.

Oil prices have jumped with West Texas Intermediate crude up 0.8% at $60.70, and Brent crude up 0.9% at $67.10.

Gold rose 0.4% t0 $1,412.

Bitcoin was up 0.3% at about $11,600.

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