In a surprising move the Trump administration to postpone the 10% tariff imposed on some goods from China, including some imported items such as technology heavy laptops and mobile phones. Apple stocks are now rallying, up by 5.2%. The rationale is simple, if the 10% duty were imposed on said stocks, Apple itself would have a strong headwind in the coming months. This postponement of tariffs gave all semiconductor stocks a boost with Texas Instruments, Micron Technology and Applied Materials all have risen substantially. Also home appliances and home appliance retailers saw their stocks rally.
Keep in mind that US President Trump made it clear that he wanted to allow for a smooth season for shoppers was the end-of-year holiday shopping for Christmas will arrive soon. The postponing of tariffs would encourage sales and of course consumers would not pay a penalty. Large shopping centers see 25% of their sales in December so the economy is now less the overall headwind. This comes at a time when the US economy is slowing from from a 3.1% expansion in Q1 of 2019 to a more recent 2.1% in Q2 with 1.8% expected in Q4……Trump realizes that Q1 needs a boost not a wall for consumers and retailers.
Our Views: The press will call this a loss for the US President and claim he is folding versus China with regards to the trade war. Keep in mind that the US has an entire tool kit at its disposal that allows it to have impact on global finance and trade. China, for its part, has a long-term view and as part of it, Chinese President Xi Jinping is a President-for-life while Trump is on for one or two terms. So for China, the CCP can dig in and patiently wait for the next US administration, one the will likely be more agreeable. Both parties will play to their strength.