US open: Trump knocks stocks off record highs with China tweet
The Dow Jones hit a record high at the start of the session after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell suggested the day before that the central bank was open to easing monetary policy in the near future.
As of 1520 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.35% higher at 26,954.16 and the S&P 500 was up 0.08% at 2,995.36. The Nasdaq Composite, however, dipped 0.02% to 8,201.29.
The Dow opened higher on Thursday, cracking 27,000 for the first time in history after it closed 76.71 points higher on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 also broke above 3,000 and the Nasdaq closed at an all-time high.
Alas, stocks reversed some of their earlier gains after Donald Trump tweets that China was "letting us down" by not purchasing the US farm products "that they said they would".
This follows news that the Trump administration was growing increasingly concerned regarding the prospects of a trade deal with Beijing.
Trump claimed that at last month's G-20 meeting in Japan Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to make large orders for US agricultural goods "almost immediately."
"Hopefully they will start soon!"
Earlier, at a press conference, the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce had reportedly said that Beijing hoped that Washington would carry through with its commitments as pertained to telecommunications equipment maker Huawei.
For some observers, the spokesman had also signalled that trade talks were set to resume soon, while others believed that Washington and Beijing were jockeying for a better position ahead of their restart and others said the recent incorporation of more senior Chinese officials to the trade team were a sign that the country's positioning was hardening.
As a result, sentiment was dampened after Jerome Powell had signalled just the day before that the door was wide open to policy easing in the previous session, telling lawmakers that there were increased risks bearing down on the US economy from overseas even as price pressures remained muted.
In his semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress, the Fed chair said global crosscurrents related to growth and trade had reemerged since policymakers met in May, with apparent progress on trade having since turned into greater uncertainty and with the central bank's contacts in business and agriculture reporting heightened concerns over trade developments.
In data news, initial jobless claims in the US declined more sharply than anticipated over the week covering the 4 July holiday.
According to the Department of Labor, unemployment claims dropped by 13,000 over the week ending on 6 July to reach 209,000. Economists had instead penciled-in a dip to 220,000.
Elsewhere, US consumer prices rose a tad more quickly than expected in June amid sharp increases in the prices of used cars and trucks, and apparel.
According to the Department of Labour, the headline rate of consumer prices edged up at a 0.1% month-on-month pace in June, so that the year-on-year rate was steady at 1.6%. Both increases were exactly as forecast by economists.
Still to come, federal budget numbers were set to be released at 1900 BST.
In commodities, oil extended gains after closing at a seven-week high as a third of the Gulf of Mexico's crude output was stopped as a result of a storm.
Major producers such as BP and Chevron evacuated crew from offshore installations due to the storm, which held the potential to grow into a hurricane later in the week.
At 1520 BST, Brent Crude was up 0.15% at $67.11 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was changing hands at $60.64 a barrel - a 0.35% increase on the day.
On the corporate front, Delta Air Lines rose 0.9% in early trade following better than expected earnings, while UnitedHealth shares climbed 4% after the White House dropped a proposal to eliminate drug rebates.