Optimism over US–China Trade Talks Continues to Boost Bullish Markets in 2020

‘I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15 … at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present….’

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange. / IMAGE: Associated Press

(Liberty Headlines) Stocks moved higher on Wall Street in early trading Thursday as U.S. markets reopened following the New Year’s Day holiday.

Even with the usual anxieties both domestically and abroad, the bullish markets refused to react at the start of the new year.

Domestically, President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and a divisive national election loom this year.

On the international front, Iran has lashed out against strong sanctions by sponsoring aggressive actions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, keeping tensions simmering, while North Korea—also protesting against U.S.-led sanctions, may be gearing up for a major missile test.

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China has had a guiding hand in many of these issues, but economically, the aftermath of trade wars between the two super-powers seems to have yielded positive results.

The market’s recent gains followed a rally in overseas markets after China’s central bank said it will free up more money for lending.

China’s central bank said it will cut the amount of money banks will be required to have on hand from Jan. 6. The move is expected to boost the country’s slowing economy ahead of the Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 25.

Companies and individuals typically need large amounts of cash on hand during China’s most important annual holiday to pay bonuses, clear debts and cover other expenses.

Investors have been encouraged in recent weeks as the U.S. and China have taken steps to resolve some of their differences in their long-running trade dispute. Washington and Beijing announced last month that they reached an agreement over a “Phase 1” trade deal that calls for the U.S. to reduce tariffs and China to buy larger quantities of U.S. farm products.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted that he will sign the initial trade deal with China at the White House next month.

He also said he plans to travel to Beijing at a later date to open talks on other sticking points in the dispute that remain to be worked out, including Chinese practices the U.S. complains unfairly favor its own companies.

In the U.S., the government said applications for unemployment aid declined last week, matching analysts’ forecasts.

The impact of seasonal labor during the holiday season was likely driving down unemployment lower than usual. However, temp laborers may soon find steady opportunities as the 2020 census ramps up its hiring.

Technology companies accounted for a big slice of the market’s upward move Thursday. Western Digital climbed 3.7% and Advanced Micro Devices rose 3%.

Communication services and industrial stocks also notched solid gains. Google parent Alphabet was up 1.5% and General Electric rose 1.8%.

Health care stocks were the biggest decliners. Perrigo dropped 1.3%.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press