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Dec 11, 2018

Stocks fluctuate as trade, potential shutdown weigh; TSX posts lowest 2018 close

BNN Bloomberg’s closing bell update: Dec. 11, 2018

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U.S. stocks ended little changed after a volatile session as investors weighed the prospects for a trade deal and an agreement to fund the American government.

The S&P 500 Index started out strong, took a turn down, then recovered from the day’s lows as key Senate leaders signaled a desire to avoid a government shutdown hours after Donald Trump threatened to do so in a spat over funding for his border wall. Carmakers rose as China signaled it may cut tariffs on auto imports, but investors were cautious about a broader deal. The dollar climbed.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX Composite posted its lowest close of 2018, dropping 60.45 points to 14,667.83.

U.S. markets have been whipsawed in recent weeks as traders searched Trump’s tweets for clues about the outlook for trade talks, tried to decide if a stock selloff could prompt the Federal Reserve to pare back rate increases and evaluated economic data that signaled a slowdown may be coming. Monday’s session saw the S&P 500 Index’s biggest full reversal since Feb. 6 as it erased a 1.9 per cent decline and ended 0.2 per cent higher, while Tuesday saw gains as big as 1.4 per cent and losses as deep as 0.6 per cent.

“It went from headline excitement to cold reality challenges,” said Mike Bailey, the director of research at FBB Capital Partners. “You’ve got a pretty skeptical market out there.”

The news on car tariffs followed reports that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He discussed a timetable for trade talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Yet investors also have an eye on the continuing flap over Canada’s arrest of the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., and the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is preparing a series of actions this week to condemn China for efforts to steal U.S. technology. And among a plethora of political risks, the U.K. is struggling to put its Brexit deal back on track and fears linger over the possibility a French protest movement could escalate further.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed the most in six weeks. India’s assets saw a choppy session, with stocks initially roiled by a surprise resignation of the central bank governor Monday, before posting a recovery. Emerging-market shares edged higher.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 was little changed at the close of trading in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.5 per cent. The MSCI All-Country World Index added 0.1 per cent The MSCI Emerging Market Index rose 0.2 per cent. The Nikkei-225 Stock Average slipped 0.3 per cent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.1 per cent. The euro fell 0.3 per cent to US$1.1323. The Japanese yen was little changed at 113.38 per dollar. The British pound fell 0.6 per cent to US$1.2491.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 2.87 per cent. Germany’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 0.23 per cent. Britain’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 1.18 per cent.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 0.1 per cent. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.4 per cent to US$51.70 a barrel. Gold slipped 0.1 per cent to US$1,243.12 an ounce.

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