Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Dec. 3:
1. — Stock Futures Slump as Trump Says Trade Pact May Not Be Reached Before Election
U.S. stock futures slumped Tuesday and European stocks reversed earlier gains after Donald Trump told reporters in London that a U.S.-China trade agreement may have to wait until after next year’s presidential elections.
Speaking to the media during a three-day visit to the British capital, Trump said he had no deadline in mind for a U.S.-China trade pact, adding that it would “probably be better” to wait until the end of the 2020 elections to finalize an agreement, adding any accord would be “dependent on whether I want it.”
“In some ways I think it’s better to wait until after the elections to deal with China, to tell you the truth,” Trump said. “In some ways I think it would be better.”
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 103 points, futures for the S&P 500 declined 10.70 points, and Nasdaq futures were off 37.75 points.
Trump’s comments Tuesday followed a surprise move from the president on Monday to impose fresh levies on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina, whom he accused of unfairly devaluing their currencies.
Meanwhile, sentiment was dented on the potential for further levies on European imports linked to a World Trade Organization ruling on aerospace subsidies.
The Geneva-based trade arbiter said Boeing (BA – Get Report) rival Airbus (EADSY) receives unfair support from the European Union, opening the door for the U.S. to apply tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of European-made goods imported into the United States as compensation.
“In light of (the WTO report) and the lack of progress in efforts to resolve this dispute, the United States is initiating a process to assess increasing the tariff rates and subjecting additional EU products to the tariffs,” the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement late Tuesday.
A separate U.S.-European tariff dispute also developed late Monday, when the U.S. Trade Representative said it would slap a punitive tariff of 100% on around $2.4 billion of French-made luxury goods, as well as wine and champagne, in retaliation for France’s decision to apply a 3% “digital tax” on U.S. tech giants such as Apple (AAPL – Get Report) , Facebook (FB – Get Report) and Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL – Get Report) .
Collectively, the trade-related headlines — which included a Global Times of China article on Monday that suggested Beijing wouldn’t sign a phase one trade agreement that didn’t include the rollback of current and pending levies on China-made goods — spooked investors on Wall Street.
The Dow on Monday declined 268 points, or 0.96%, to end at 27,783, the S&P 500 lost 0.86% and the Nasdaq slumped 1.12%.
2. — Salesforce and Marvell Technology to Report Earnings
The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes Motor Vehicle Sales for November published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Analysts expect total unit vehicle sales in November at a 17 million annual rate vs. a slower-than-expected annual rate of 16.5 million in October.
3. — UnitedHealth Issues Lukewarm 2020 Profit Forecast
The company said it expects earnings next year of between $16.25 and $16.55 a share, compared with analysts’ estimates of $16.46, according to Refinitiv.
Revenue, however, was forecast by UnitedHealth at $260 billion to $262 billion for 2020 vs. analysts’ expectations of $260.81 billion.
The company said cash flow from operations was “expected to range from $19.0 billion to $19.5 billion in 2020.”
The stock was inactive in premarket trading. It fell 0.59% to $278 in after-hours trading on Monday.
4. — Cyber Monday Sales Expected at $9.2 Billion
Online sales for Cyber Monday are expected at $9.2 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, a gain of 16.9% from a year earlier.
Adobe estimated that shoppers were spending an estimated $11 million every minute from 11 p.m. ET to 12 p.m.
The top-selling items throughout Thanksgiving weekend included “Frozen 2” toys, Fire TVs from Amazon.com (AMZN – Get Report) , Apple (AAPL – Get Report) laptops, and games such as Electronic Arts’ EA “Madden 20” and “NBA 2K20.”
In past years, Amazon has been the single most dominant holiday retailer when it comes to online sales; in 2018, Amazon accounted for roughly one-third of all online holiday sales, according to Rakuten Intelligence. But in 2019 there’s some evidence that rival Walmart (WMT – Get Report) was closing the gap, at least when it comes to mobile purchases.
App Annie, a mobile insights and analytics firm, reported that Walmart was the most downloaded app on Black Friday this year, surpassing Amazon, which was the second most downloaded.
5. — PG&E Failed to Inspect Transmission Lines That Caused Deadly Fire
PG&E (PCG – Get Report) , the bankrupt Northern California utility, failed to adequately inspect and maintain its transmission lines for years before a faulty line started the deadliest fire in California history, a state investigation found, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In a 700-page report that detailed the problems that led to the Camp Fire, investigators with the California Public Utilities Commission said they found systemic problems with how the company oversaw the safety of its oldest lines.
State fire investigators previously had determined that PG&E equipment started the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people, and the company hasn’t disputed the findings. But the new report goes well beyond earlier findings, the Journal reported, alleging numerous serious violations of state rules for maintaining electric lines and specific problems with upkeep of the transmission line that started the fire.