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Last week’s shortened trading session managed to bring stocks to new record highs, representing one of the best overall months since the beginning of the year. However, the start of the holiday season and new month wasn’t so jolly this past week. A variety of old and new foes managed to take much of the wind out of the market’s sails.
For starters, there was much more uncertainty on the trade front. With the December 15 deadline for new tariffs quickly approaching, the U.S. and China have continued to struggle to find a deal. While talks had progressed towards a Phase One agreement, with China agreeing to several key concessions, the United States’ passage of a key Hong Kong protest bill has made an agreement more difficult to reach. The week also saw President Trump returning to his hard-lined stance on China via several tweets.
And it seems like the lack of a trade deal is finally starting to dent the U.S. economy. Data released this week was very poor, including some key gauges of manufacturing and employment health. Meanwhile, retail figures from the Black Friday shopping kick-off showed a mixed picture, with some retailers seeing great sales and others falling further behind.
Due to a lack of earnings being reported this week, traders clung to the poor data and tough trade picture. And, with that, the major indices spent much of the week trending lower.
Be sure to check out our previous Wrap here, when the shortened week hit new record highs.