Stocks slightly higher as China cautions on trade deal

Stocks traded flat on Monday after Beijing said the United States and China still have some work to do before finalizing their "phase one" trade agreement.

“While the negotiations do appear to have produced a fundamental understanding on the key issues and the broader benefits of friendly relations, the Champagne should probably be kept on ice, at least until the two presidents put pen to paper,” wrote the state-owned China Daily. China wants further talks, as soon as the end of October, in order to hammer out the final details before Chinese President Xi Jinping agrees to sign it.

But Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of China's state-run Global Times, said things are moving in the right direction.

"Based on what I know, China-US trade talks made breakthrough last week and the two sides have the strong will to reach a final deal. Initial statement of the Chinese side is moderate," he tweeted Monday morning. "This is China's habit. It doesn't mean China's real attitude is not positive."


Trade negotiators from the U.S. and China on Friday agreed to a deal in principle that is expected to take three to five weeks to complete. As part of the deal, China agreed to increase its purchases of U.S. agricultural products and Boeing aircraft, in addition to making reforms on intellectual property and financial services. The U.S. has agreed to not raise tariffs from 25 percent to 30 percent on Oct. 15. A decision has not yet been made on the tariff increase scheduled for Dec. 15.

All three of the major averages opened lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down about 60 points, or 0.2 percent.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 40003.59 +134.21 +0.34%
SP500 S&P 500 5303.27 +6.17 +0.12%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 16685.966005 -12.35 -0.07%

Trade sensitive names were lower as Friday's enthusiasm waned.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE INC. 189.82 -0.02 -0.01%
CAT CATERPILLAR INC. 356.27 +5.55 +1.58%

Boeing shares swung between gains and losses after CEO Dennis Muilenberg was stripped of his chairmanship. David Calhoun, current independent lead director, was named non-executive chairman.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 184.95 +1.99 +1.09%

Elsewhere, financials were in focus as the big banks get set to kick off earnings season on Tuesday.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP. 39.31 +0.09 +0.23%
C CITIGROUP INC. 64.07 -0.07 -0.11%
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 204.85 +2.37 +1.17%
GS THE GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC. 467.72 +3.20 +0.69%
MS MORGAN STANLEY 100.22 +0.64 +0.64%
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO. 61.12 +0.06 +0.10%

The U.S. bond market was closed for Columbus Day.


Overnight, China reported exports to the United States fell 17.8 percent in September from a year earlier to $36.5 billion. Imports of American goods sank 20.6 percent to $10.6 billion.

In Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite gained 1.2 percent higher and Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished higher by 0.8 percent. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

In Europe, all of the major averages were lower, with France's CAC down 1 percent to pace the decline.

FOX Business' Ken Martin and The Associated Press contributed to this article.