Shoe Stocks Move Warily as US-China Trade Talks Resume

Another round of high-level tariff talks between the United States and China is scheduled for this week, dealing investors fresh worries over a potentially prolonged trade war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened the trading day down 0.26%, or shy of 70 points. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also dropped 0.26%, or 7.7 points and 20.75 points, respectively. It comes just days before officials from Washington and Beijing meet to hammer out terms of a deal that could end their yearlong financial dispute.

Shoe stocks were similarly treading carefully at market open, with major athletic player Nike Inc. dipping 0.26% to $92.83 and fashion accessories chain Steven Madden Ltd. falling 0.38% to $34.30. However, department store giant Nordstrom Inc. rose 0.55% to $32.67 and clog maker Crocs Inc. climbed 0.14% to $28.83.

Over the past year and a half, President Donald Trump has initiated four tranches of tariffs on Chinese goods. The U.S. leader recently postponed levies on $250 billion worth of Chinese products — representing the combined first three tranches — as a “measure of goodwill” during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The 5% duty increase, originally scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1, will now be imposed on Oct. 15.

However, the fourth group of duties, which would impact $300 billion in Chinese imports — including footwear, apparel and other accessories — has been spread across two dates. On Sept. 1, Washington hit Beijing with a 15% levy on $112 billion worth of those goods. China retaliated by slapping American products with new duties that range from 5% to 10%. Tariffs on the remaining $188 billion will be implemented on Dec. 15.

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