Stock indexes edged mostly higher in afternoon trading Friday after President Trump outlined several actions in response to China eroding the autonomy of Hong Kong but did not mention any moves to upend a trade pact struck with Beijing earlier this year, per the AP. The Dow finished the day down 17 points at 25,383, the S&P 500 rose 14 points to 3,044, and the Nasdaq rose 120 points to 9,489. The benchmark S&P, which closed out May with its second monthly gain in a row, had been down 1% ahead of Trump's late-afternoon remarks. It finished up about half a percentage point. The market had been nervous that the Trump administration would reignite a costly trade war between the US and the world's second largest economy.
“Much ado about nothing,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, said of the remarks. “The immediate concern, meaning the cessation of the Phase 1 (trade) accord, did not end up being put on the table, much to traders' relief.” In his remarks, Trump still blasted China, saying Hong Kong is no longer “sufficiently autonomous” to warrant the preferred status that the US had been giving the former British colony when it comes to export controls, extradition treaties and travel. “Basically, he’s going to treat Hong Kong the way he treats China," Stovall said.
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