U.S. Equity Markets sputtered late in the session Thursday but still managed to close at a record high as traders were whipsawed by conflicting headlines on the progress of trade talks with China. Early reports that the U.S. and China were prepared to exchange tariff rollbacks pushed the S&P 500 Index higher throughout the day, but the rally lost some steam after Reuters said the plan was meeting resistance in the White House. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow later told Bloomberg, “If there’s a phase one trade deal, there are going to be tariff agreements and concessions.” Before the Reuters report, haven assets from gold to sovereign bonds had been sinking — along with defensive stocks like utilities and real estate — as a risk-on mood gripped markets. Copper and crude jumped at least 2% before paring gains. Sovereign bonds plunged around the world on the earlier positive trade news, with the 30-year Treasury yield hitting its highest since August. Ten-year French and Belgian bond yields climbed back above 0% for the first time in months, while the German equivalent surged 10 basis points. Yields remain elevated, even after the latest trade wrinkle. Gold fell nearly $30 an ounce at one point, only recover some of that loss, but still hit a three-month low.
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