Wall Street was unable to hang on to the afternoon gains piled on in the wake of Donald Trump tweeting that Chinese officials were coming to the US to make a deal on trade.

The US president’s social media message, for a while, offered investors some respite from concerns this week that the two sides could be at an even tougher impasse, particularly given Mr Trump tweeted at the weekend the US would raise tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday if Washington and Beijing could not reach a consensus.

“China has just informed us that they (Vice-Premier) are now coming to the US to make a deal. We’ll see, but I am very happy with over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs filling US coffers . . . great for US, not good for China!” the president tweeted mid-morning, helping stocks overcome a sluggish start.

Chinese vice-premier Liu He is due to arrive in Washington on Thursday for an abbreviated round of trade talks, although there is still a substantial amount of market uncertainty around any potential outcome.

The S&P 500 closed 0.2 per cent lower, having been up as much as 0.5 per cent. The benchmark closed 1.7 per cent lower on Tuesday — its third-largest drop of the year — as President Donald Trump’s threat to increase tariffs and comments from US officials that China had reneged on its commitments set a fraught tone to trade.

The Nasdaq Composite also faded into closing bell, finishing about ¼ of 1 per cent lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average clung on to finish just 2.2 points higher.

Major European bourses managed to swing higher despite riding in on losses for markets in Asia.

Germany’s Dax 30 rose 0.7 per cent and the UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.2 per cent. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 was up 0.2 per cent.

Mainland China’s CSI 300 lost 1.4 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.2 per cent. Japan’s Topix fell 1.6 per cent, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 0.7 per cent.

Brent crude recovered from earlier losses that came amid concerns about the dangers posed to demand by the impact of the trade dispute on global growth. The international oil marker was up 0.5 per cent at $70.26 a barrel.

Japan’s yen, seen as a haven in times of uncertainty, strengthened 0.1 per cent to ¥110.10 per dollar and a fresh five-week high. Gold was down 0.3 per cent at $1,280.55 an ounce, pulling back from earlier gains that had it at its highest level in eight sessions.

Snapshot

Level+/- %
Dollar index97.630+0.0
Euro vs dollar$1.1188-0.0
Sterling vs dollar$1.3002-0.5
US 10Y2.4889+4.1 bps
Bunds 10Y-0.042+0.0 bps

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