China, US Signal Trade Deal Progress, Boosting Stocks to Record High

November 4, 2019 Updated: November 4, 2019

Gains in technology and energy shares pushed Wall Street’s three main indexes to record highs on Nov 4, as Washington and Beijing officials reaffirmed new progress for a bilateral trade deal.

“We are very far along with phase one,” the U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Monday, referring to the “Phase One” agreement announced President Donald Trump on Oct. 11, which is set to cover agricultural purchases, increased access to China’s financial services markets, improved protections for intellectual property rights and a currency pact.

Ross said the day earlier that the trade deal with China is on track and that he expected the remaining issues during the negotiations to be resolved shortly. He also stressed that the agreement was “particularly complicated” and that the U.S. administration wanted to ensure that each side has a clear understanding of the terms they are signing on to.

“We’re in good shape, we’re making good progress, and there’s no natural reason why it couldn’t be,” he told Bloomberg in Bangkok, where he attended the regional summit meeting with Southeast Asian leaders. “But whether it will slip a little bit, who knows. It’s always possible,” he added.

Ross noted that there’s hope for completing the deal as early as this month.

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (L) shakes hands with China’s Premier Li Keqiang (R), as U.S. National Security advisor Robert O’Brien watches, as they attend a bilateral meeting in Bangkok on Nov. 4, 2019. (Romeo Gacad/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump earlier confirmed the deal was progressing.

“First, I want to get the deal,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Sunday. “And if we get the deal, the meeting place will come very easily. It’ll be someplace in the U.S.”

Echoing Trump’s remarks, Ross suggested that Alaska and Iowa, as well as somewhere in China could be possible venues for signing the agreement, Bloomberg reported.

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien met with China’s Premier Li Keqiang during a Monday summit with Southeast Asian leaders in Bangkok. While criticizing Beijing for its military “intimidation” of its neighbors in the South China Sea, O’Brien said Washington sought a “great relationship” with China as they moved to conclude the 16-month long trade war.

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Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 4, 2019. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson on Monday issued a brief response on the subject of progress of trade talks, saying that Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping “have stayed in contact through various means.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Friday the two sides reached “consensus on principles” during a “serious and constructive” phone call between the top trade negotiators.

“China wants to make the deal very much,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday evening. “I don’t like to talk about deals until they happen, but we’re making a lot of progress.”

The three main U.S. stock market indexes (S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones) hit a record high in light of the trade optimism. As of 11:21 a.m. ET,  the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.50 percent, the S&P 500 went up by 0.46 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite went up by 0.50 percent.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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