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China Replies to Trump

Following a Thursday trading session where “all systems were go” — strong economic data, better-than-expected earnings results from Walmart WMT and elsewhere, and a perceived cooling of tensions in the U.S.-China trade war — Friday’s pre-market paints a different picture. Following strong words from state-run Chinese media overnight, indexes overseas sunk back down and have sent U.S. futures into the red.

There had been hope for continued trade talks in Beijing sometime before the G-20 summit 6 weeks from now, but official word that continuing negotiations are currently considered “meaningless” so long as the U.S. remains “insincere” in its efforts to reach agreement. This sentiment doesn’t really come out of nowhere: following trade talks last week, President Trump has signed an executive order barring telecom equipment imports from Chinese communications giant Huawei. The president said the matter was a matter of national security.

China’s retort was that Trump’s move amounted to “little tricks to disrupt the atmosphere” of good-faith trade talks. This resulted in big hits to stocks that buy considerable Huawei products, such as Xilinx XLNX and Qualcomm QCOM, and dampened hopes that a coming-together of a trade agreement would happen soon between the top two economies in the world. Now, China says it is looking for the U.S. to make “concessions on key issues.”

All this means the next time Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will most likely see each other will be at the Group of 20 Countries (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan beginning June 28th. That’s a considerable amount of time for trade talks to be put on ice, and that’s without possible further aggravations from either side. Meanwhile, American farm crops will have been brought to maturity, in some cases without a market to be sold in.

This, in turn, is having a negative affect on farm equipment companies like Deere & Co. DE, which reported fiscal Q2 earnings ahead of Friday’s opening bell. The agriculture equipment major missed earnings estimates by 5 cents to $3.58 per share, which is still up 12% year over year.

Revenues outperformed expectations as well, although full-year guidance was trimmed, partially based on uncertainties related to conditions of the trade war. Equipment sales forecasts have been cut by 2%, offset somewhat by current strength in the Brazilian market. For more on DE’s earnings, click here.

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