Stocks erased earlier declines following a Bloomberg report that Mr. Trump will delay tariffs on car imports. Updates on global trade policy have swung markets in recent days, with stocks rising and falling on shifting bets about the U.S. and China eventually reaching an agreement. Many investors are worried about higher tariffs crimping economic and profit growth, leading to an uptick in volatility so far this month.
Those jitters have also increased focus on economic data points as analysts attempt to gauge whether a growth slowdown overseas will spread to the U.S. Data Wednesday showed U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in April even before the U.S. raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and Beijing said it would raise levies on $60 billion of U.S. goods in response. U.S. manufacturing output also fell in April, missing expectations.
Figures also showed Chinese industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all slowed in April, the latest mixed data point concerning analysts who are uncertain how much stimulus measures will spur activity in the world’s second-largest economy.