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Nonsense Market Moves Have Investors ‘Exhausted’ by Trade Talks

Sarah Ponczek and Vildana Hajric

(Bloomberg) -- As noon struck Thursday amid the latest U.S.-China trade talks, the S&P 500 turned south for no apparent reason.

“They order the wrong lunch for the meeting?” @selling_theta tweeted.

It was a joke, but investors could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. While trade headlines have whipsawed markets for nearly two years, the heightened sensitivity this week has turned almost comical.

The equity benchmark shot higher Wednesday after the Global Times said China’s delegation would be huge. It jumped again early Thursday on news the bunch had landed. It took another leg up mid-morning when Donald Trump signaled the talks will go into Friday as planned, even as he cast doubt on whether he wanted to make a deal.

“It’s getting kind of ridiculous,” Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., said by phone. “The market moves from every little blast.”

That’s not to say traders shouldn’t pay attention. They’ve waited weeks to get some sign that the dispute would move toward a resolution as indications mount that it is taking a toll on the global economy. And there’s been some signs that the two nations may be willing to compromise, including reports of a potential currency pact in a mini deal, more agricultural purchases and the allowance of some sales to Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Still, it’s been a long week -- with another 26 hours before the market heads to the weekend.

“I’m exhausted from it,” Lale Topcuoglu, a senior fund manager at JOHCM, said on Bloomberg Television.

--With assistance from Jonathan Ferro.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Ponczek in New York at sponczek2@bloomberg.net;Vildana Hajric in New York at vhajric1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net, Brendan Walsh

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