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US open: Stocks open lower as investors mull news of Chinese trade talks

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Friday 17 Aug 2018

US open: Stocks open lower as investors mull news of Chinese trade talks

(Sharecast News) - US stocks opened lower on Friday as investors mulled over the latest developments between the US and China, threats of more sanctions on Turkey and the news of an eleven-month low reading on the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index.
As of 1520 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.11% to 25,529.69, while the S&P 500 fell 0.18% to 2,835.51 and the Nasdaq moved 0.56% lower to 7,763.11.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed overnight that the US and China will resume trade talks later this month, but he also cautioned that Donald Trump was committed to making sure the administration gets a good deal.

"The Chinese government, in its totality, must not underestimate President Trump's toughness and willingness to continue this battle to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers and quotas, to stop the theft of intellectual property and to stop the forced transfer of technology," Kudlow said in an interview with CNBC.

Meanwhile, Turkey was still at the forefront of investors' minds after US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin signalled a more hard-line approach, saying that the US could impose more sanctions on the country if President Erdogan refuses the quick release of the American pastor at the heart of the Turkey crisis.

"We put sanctions on several of the Cabinet members," Mnuchin said Thursday during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "We have more that we're planning to do if they don't release him quickly."

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said, "The US doesn't appear in any mood to relieve the pressure on the Turkish government in securing the release of their pastor, if recent comments from vice President Mike Pence, and Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin are any guide."

"President Erdogan may be able to defray some of the risks to the Turkish economy by trying to improving his ties with Germany and Russia, but if the US really wanted to turn the screws it's unlikely that these countries would be able to do much about it," Hewson added.

In corporate news, Deere & Co slumped 2.32% at the open following the release of its third-quarter earnings, while chip makers Nvidia Corp and Applied Materials slipped 2.82% and 6.60%, respectively, on the back of their numbers a day earlier.

Nordstrom was 7% higher in early trade as the department store chain's second-quarter earnings late on Thursday beat expectations and the company upped its earnings outlook for the year.

Elsewhere, Bristol-Myers ticked ahead 0.79% following the revelation that the US Food and Drug Administration had approved its Opdivo drug for the treatment of small cell lung cancer.

On the data front, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell to 95.3, down from the 97.9 printed in July and well short of the 98.5 reading predicted by economists.

The decline was focussed on households in the bottom third of the income distribution, with buying conditions for large household durables dropping to their lowest level in nearly four years and for vehicles, in particular, the worst reading seen in the last four years.

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