Updated: 1:24 p.m. ET, August 29, 2019
U.S. markets extended a rally after dovish comments from a top Chinese official indicated that it would not retaliate, at least for now, on the latest increase in tariffs from the U.S.
Stocks were trading sharply higher by midday, helped by new comments from President Trump, who told Fox News Radio that talks had been scheduled Thursday "at a different level." He did not say what that means.
Earlier, Gao Feng, the spokesman for Ministry of Commerce Secretary, said in Beijing: “China has ample means for retaliation, but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war."
"The most important thing is to create the necessary conditions for continuing negotiations," Feng added, according to a translation by Bloomberg.
Those comments sent the Dow soaring 300 points at the open, which it was able to maintain into early afternoon, extending the volatility that has become the hallmark of what is typically among the quietest trading months of the year.
If the Dow were to close higher by 828 points between Thursday and Friday, it would end up higher for the month of August. The S&P would need to rise 92.5 points over the next two days to close up on the month.
Feng, the Chinese official, did not comment on President Trump's claim that the Chinese trade delegation called their American counterparts last weekend to express hopes of reaching a deal on tariffs. That statement came after a whipsaw few days in which China announced new tariffs on $75 billion U.S. goods. Trump retaliated by saying he would hike the tariff rates on Chinese exports, which sent stocks plunging.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Dow was trading back above where it was a week ago, before the latest tit-for-tat.