Wall Street set for lower open as Trump speech clouds trade deal hopes


(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open lower on Wednesday after President Donald Trump threatened to “substantially” raise tariffs if China did not strike a trade deal with the United States and on escalating tensions in Hong Kong.

Trump on Tuesday dangled the prospect of completing an initial deal with China “soon,” but offered no new details on negotiations and largely repeated well-worn rhetoric about China’s “cheating” on trade.

Trade-sensitive technology stocks had lifted the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX and Nasdaq .IXIC to all-time highs in the run up to Trump’s speech on Tuesday, but the indexes pulled back slightly after his address at the Economic Club of New York.

“Now is more the realization that ‘phase one’ is really not a done deal,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

“It felt for a couple weeks that the deal was almost done and then you have these comments that sort of puts us in the same place we were.”

Chipmakers, which get a sizeable chunk of sales from China, fell marginally in premarket trading.

Heightened tensions in Hong Kong also dulled sentiment after police warned violence related to anti-government protests had reached a deadly level and that the Asian financial hub had been pushed to the “brink of a total breakdown”.

Wall Street’s main indexes have touched new highs this month on the back of a strong corporate earnings season and hopes of a trade deal to end the damaging 16-month tariff war.

Investor attention now turns to testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the domestic economy on Wednesday and Thursday as well as fresh economic data.

On the economic front, data showed U.S. consumer prices rebounded more than expected in October and underlying inflation picked up.

Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) slipped 0.8% as the Chinese e-commerce giant revealed plans to launch a Hong Kong share sale to raise up to $13.4 billion.

At 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 95 points, or 0.34%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 9.75 points, or 0.32% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 28.25 points, or 0.34%.

SmileDirectClub Inc SDC.O slumped 5.8% as the teeth alignment company posted a bigger quarterly loss and pointed toward more losses for the year.

Tech Data Corp (TECD.O) gained 3.7% after announcing private equity Apollo Global Management (APO.N) would buy the U.S. company in a deal valued at $5.4 billion.

China’s Luckin Coffee Inc (LK.O) rose 10.9% as the Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) rival reported a smaller-than-expected loss and forecast fourth-quarter revenue above estimates.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva