Earlier this morning–11 a.m. New York time–the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up almost 1% on news that talks between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping had resulted in a trade truce and the resumption of talks aimed at ending the trade war between the two countries.
But data showing weakness in the Chinese and U.S. economies have prevented U.S indexes from building on that early strength. As of 2 p.m. New York time the S&P 500 was up 0.53% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 0.23%. The NASDAQ Composite, benefiting from strength in technology shares after President Trump said he would ease the restrictions on the purchase of U.S. technology by China’s Huawei, gained 0.91%. The Russell 2000 small cap index was higher by a scant 0.03%.
Among technology shares Qualcomm (QCOM) moved higher by 1.81% and Broadcome (AVGO) added 3.45%. Huawei is a major customer at each company. The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 1.41%.
Financials, which finished so strong last week, were again higher with the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) gaining 0.87%
On Sunday, the release of China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index for the manufacturing sector remained stuck at 49.4%, just below the 50 level that signals a contraction. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were looking for a slight pick up to 49.5. The Caixin PMI for manufacturing, which better reflects the private companies in the Chinese economy than official data that emphasizes state-owned enterprises, fell to 49.4 from 50.2 in May. That dropped the index into contraction territory.
The problems in the Chinese economy can’t be totally put at the feet of the trade war, which means that the trade truce won’t reverse the recent weakness. Smaller exporters in the heart of China’s manufacturing sector told Bloomberg in June that broader economic uncertainty and not just higher U.S. tariffs are hurting their results.
On the good news side, the PMI for the services sector remained above 50 in June although it did edge down to 54.2 from 54.3 in May. (The index includes services and construction and the construction sub-index showed a pick up in new orders.)
Back in the United States the ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index for June came in at 51.7. That was above the expectations of economists surveyed by Briefing.com at 51.5. But it was still significantly lower than May’s 52.1. The New Orders Index, most worryingly, fell from 52.7 in May to just 50 in June, right on the border between expansion and contraction.The sub-index that tracks the backlog of orders edged up in June to 47.4 from 47.2 in May but this measure is still firmly in contraction territory for a second straight month.