(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open flat on Monday as President Donald Trump said he would restore tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina, with investors shrugging off a surprise rise in Chinese manufacturing activity.
Trader Jonathan Corpina works with children during a traditional bring-your-kids-to-work day on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Trump said in a tweet he would immediately restore tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina, surprising officials in the two South American countries and prompting them to seek explanations.
“The concern here is what kind of retaliatory response those countries might have, let alone sort of a re-escalation of these tariff wars in the midst of trying to resolve one,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
U.S. stock index futures were earlier up about 0.4% after data showed China’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in three years, reinforcing upbeat government data released over the weekend.
The data follows a clutch of mixed headlines on U.S.-China trade last week. Hopes of an imminent “phase one” trade deal and upbeat U.S. economic data sent Wall Street to record highs early in the week, but sentiment dulled on Friday after China issued a sharp rebuke to a U.S. law supporting protesters in Hong Kong.
Recent numbers from the United States have indicated that the domestic economy continues to be resilient despite signs of flagging global growth, a message reinforced by the Federal Reserve.
All eyes will now be on the ISM manufacturing activity survey for November, due at 10 a.m. ET. The reading is expected to rise to 49.2 from 48.3 in October.
Retail stocks also remained in focus, with Cyber Monday sales expected to hit a record following $11.6 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Target Corp (TGT.N) gained about 0.3% in premarket trading.
At 8:57 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 27 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up just 2.75 points, or 0.09% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 0.75 points, or 0.01%.
Among other stocks, Roku Inc (ROKU.O) fell 7.9% as Morgan Stanley downgraded the video streaming device maker’s shares to “underweight from “equal-weight”.
Splunk Inc (SPLK.O) rose 2.5% after Goldman Sachs upgraded shares of the company to “buy” from “neutral”.
Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur