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Wall Street flat as tariff deadline looms; fresh UK polls push pound higher

➤ China hopes to reach a deal soon, ahead of planned U.S. tariff hike deadline.

➤ Chinese trade surplus narrows as exports unexpectedly drop.

➤ Pound hits 7-month high against dollar after fresh polls.

➤ Safe haven assets gain.

Wall Street was flat as markets continued to assess the prospects of an interim trade deal between China and the U.S., ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for new U.S. tariffs.

The S&P 500 was little changed around 10:25 a.m. ET. The index closed 0.9% higher on Friday after the November jobs report tempered fears of a looming recession and snuffed out any expectations of another Federal Reserve interest rate cut at its meetings on Dec. 10 and 11.

Chinese Assistant Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin reportedly said Beijing hopes to reach a trade agreement with Washington as soon as possible. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said Dec. 6 that no in-person talks or a signing ceremony were planned, though the two sides were closer to a deal than they were in mid-November.

Lee Hardman and Fritz Louw, currency analysts at MUFG Bank, expect the Trump administration to postpone fresh tariffs, which, they said, should support risk appetite as long as negotiations remain ongoing.

Separately, the U.S. House of Representatives and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are said to be closing in on an amended U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

In Europe, Germany's DAX lost 0.2% and France's CAC 40 lost 0.4%. The FTSE 100 ticked 0.1% higher.

Tullow Oil PLC's shares in London plunged nearly 70% to a record low as the company announced its CEO's resignation, dividend suspension and a cut in its production guidance.

Overnight in Asia, the Shanghai SE Composite closed 0.1% higher. Exports from China dropped 1.1% on an annual basis, contracting for the fourth straight month.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% as the country upwardly revised its third-quarter GDP growth rate to 0.4% from 0.1%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed.

The dollar index was trading 0.1% lower.

In individual currencies, the pound added 0.1% to $1.3150, having hit a seven-month high against the dollar and a two-and-a-half year high against the euro earlier in the day, as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's party maintained its lead in fresh polls, ahead of general elections on Thursday.

The euro appreciated 0.1% versus the U.S. dollar as data showed German trade surplus expanded in October. The Japanese yen ticked up 0.1%.

In the bond market, 10-year Treasurys and German Bunds rose, with their yields shedding more than 2 basis points each to 1.816% and negative 0.309%, respectively.

Among commodities, Brent crude fell 0.3% to $64.18 on the ICE Futures Exchange, while gold rose 0.2%.

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The day ahead:

12:30 p.m. ET – U.S. TD Ameritrade IMX

8:30 p.m. ET – China CPI & PPI (Econoday consensus: 4.3% for CPI yearly, -1.7% for PPI yearly)