New York: US stocks were holding their collective breath at the open on Tuesday, poised for a speech by President Donald Trump that could offer clarity on US trade disputes with China and Europe.
With a Wednesday deadline for deciding whether to impose tariffs on European cars, which would send US trade conflicts into a new dimension, and investors anxiously awaiting a deal with China, Trump’s midday speech to the Economic Club of New York will be must-see TV.
About 10 minutes into the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially flat at 27,694.37.
But the broader S&P 500 and the tech-dominated Nasdaq Composite Index each edged up 0.2 per cent to 3,091.17 and 8,480.82.
“The lack of conviction isn’t so much due to a lack of news as it is due to the absence of news market participants are waiting on to be made,” Briefing.com analyst Patrick J. O’Hare said.
“There’s just no telling what might be said, so there is a wait-and-see mentality pervading in the pre-open trade,” he said of Trump’s speech.
All three indexes hit records last week on positive comments about chances for a resolution to the US-China trade conflict but then fell back on Monday after conflicting signals out of Washington, including from Trump, who on Friday contradicted the Chinese assertion that Washington and Beijing already had agreed to roll back tariffs.
The only data report Tuesday was small business sentiment index, which came in above expectations at 102.4.
Government inflation data is due out Wednesday and industrial production on Friday, but the main attention grabber will be testimony before Congress by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday and Thursday.