Stock market news: Trump trade war uncertainty send markets lower

President Trump’s suggestion that he won’t meet Chinese Premier Xi Jinping before a crucial March 1 trade war deadline has pounded US markets amid fears of tariff escalation.

The President shook his head when reporters asked about the chances of a meeting sending global equities lower as hopes of an early trade deal between the two countries diminished.

Selling was triggered after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on Fox on Thursday that “there is a pretty sizeable distance to go” to achieve a deal.

“Whilst this is a bit of a blow, it’s not in itself a reason to think trade talks are not going anywhere,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com. “It’s hard to see much in the way of a positive catalyst as we approach the weekend.”

Here’s the run-down:

  • US markets closed down Thursday and continued to be hit Friday with the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all 0.3% lower as of 8.35 a.m in London (3.35 a.m in New York).
  • Japan’s Nikkei plummeted 2% amid continued Lunar New Year celebrations elsewhere in the region with investors increasingly fearful about trade tariffs escalating.
  • South Korean and Australian markets closed down while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also finished 0.2% lower.
  • Europe’s markets are a mixed picture with the FTSE 100 and CAC 40 both trading up 0.3% while Italy’s FTSE MIB is up 0.5% even after the country’s growth forecasts for 2019 were slashed Thursday.

If no trade deal is agreed by March 1, tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese exports to the US will increase from 10% to 25%.

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