Interactive Brokers founder: I would not go into the summer with a long position in stocks

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Thomas Peterffy, founder of the Interactive Brokers online trading platform, warned Thursday that investors should not go into the summer without trying to protect their stock positions.

“What frightens me the most is there is very little liquidity in the market,” Peterffy, a billionaire, told CNBC’s Rick Santelli. “I wouldn’t go into the summer months with a long position. I would rather go flat.”

With mounting uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trade dispute, a thinly traded summer market could be tough to navigate, Peterffy said on “Squawk on the Street.” “[But] that does not mean you have to sell your long positions.” He instead suggested there are many ways people can hedge their portfolios, including S&P futures and shorting SPDR exchange-traded funds.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was under pressure again Thursday, dropping about 400 points or more than 1.5% in midday trading as more companies suspended business with Huawei to comply with the blacklisting of the China-based telecom giant by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Alphabet‘s Google said Sunday that it would cut ties with Huawei in order to comply with the order. But after the U.S. temporarily eased some of those restrictions, Google said Tuesday that it plans to work with Huawei over the next 90 days.

Peterffy, a Trump supporter, was not optimistic about quick resolutions of the trade and technology disputes between Washington and Beijing. “The trade issues do not seem to get better in the near term. They will probably get worse.”

Negotiations between the U.S. and China appear to have stalled as both sides dig in after disagreements earlier this month. China said talks will not resume until the U.S. addresses its “wrong actions.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Thursday, in a “Squawk Box” interview, that he’s seen the two countries make progress and hopes it can continue.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC’s Ylan Mui on Wednesday that a trip to Beijing has not been planned. Trump has said he plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in late June at the G-20 summit in Japan.

The U.S. and China both raised tariffs on each others goods earlier this month, with Trump threatening to hit all Chinese imports to America with duties.

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