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Weekly Comic: Trump’s Trade War Headlines Take Markets On Wild Ride

By Jesse Cohen - After weeks of relative calm and record highs, volatility made a return to Wall Street this week as President Donald Trump cast more uncertainty on the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Speaking in London on Tuesday, where he was attending a NATO meeting, President Trump hinted he had no deadline to reach a trade agreement with China and that he was ready to wait until after the presidential election in November 2020, dashing hopes the two sides will be able to come to terms before the end of the year.

His comments sent stocks reeling and revived some of the market volatility that has become a signature of the dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Markets rebounded on Wednesday when Bloomberg reported that the two sides are moving closer to an agreement and after Trump described talks with China as going "very well", sounding more positive than he did the day before.

Wall Street looked set to enjoy another strong performance on Thursday, but the conflicting message on trade kept a lid on advances.

For much of the last few months, stocks have inched upward, repeatedly reaching all-time highs, boosted by signs of progress on the U.S.-China trade front.

The S&P 500 rose 2% in October and 3.4% in November. However, the index is off by about 1% to start off December, provoking painful memories for investors. Last year, stocks were hammered by a 9% drop in December that culminated in a Christmas Eve plunge.

The S&P 500 remains up more than 24% in 2019.

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-- Reuters contributed to this report

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