Veteran trader Art Cashin told CNBC on Tuesday that investors are wary of positive U.S.-China trade reports after having been let down in the past.
“This market has had its heart broken time and time again,” said Cashin, director of UBS floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange.
Stocks have reacted wildly to reports on the trade talks, which have flip-flopped between pessimism and optimism over the past 17 months.
However, the market remained little changed following a report, which hit before Tuesday’s open on Wall Street, that the U.S. could postpone the implementation of new tariffs on Chinese goods.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. planned to delay Sunday’s tariffs on $160 billion in goods as the world’s two largest economies continue to try to work out a “phase one” trade deal. Additionally, the Trump administration also asked Beijing to commit to some agricultural purchases, the report said, while also pushing for quarterly reviews of such purchases.
“The reality is those tariffs are still on the table,” White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said, in response to reports in the Journa, and similarly on Bloomberg. “So, they could not, but they also could. There is no definitive decision on that yet.”
“The market is somewhat skeptical of where we’re going,” Cashin said on “Squawk Alley,” ahead of Kudlow’s remarks.
Similarly, CNBC’s Jim Cramer cast doubt Tuesday morning about the Wall Street Journal report. “My understanding is the president doesn’t know anything about this right now,” he said, just moments after stock futures turned positive.
“I don’t want the viewers to be mistaken in thinking … there’s a delay, without hearing it from the president these days. I think it’s dangerous,” the “Mad Money” host added. “It seems that the Chinese are putting these stories out.”
Additionally, on Tuesday, House Democrats and the Trump administration announced an agreement to move forward with the White House’s new deal with Mexico and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But Cashin said the markets are more in tune to the U.S.-China trade war. “I don’t think the cooperation in Washington is enough,” he added. “I think it’s still got to be China.”