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Trade war

Trump says stocks will 'spike' after China trade deal

Economic adviser Kudlow says 'nothing in cement' for summit with Xi

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs from the White House on March 8. The president has been portrayed recently as wanting a stock market bump from closing a China trade deal.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Equities will enjoy a "very big spike" as soon as a trade deal with China is done, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters Friday on the White House lawn.

Playing down the disappointing February employment figures by noting that "the economy is very, very strong," the president said that "I think you're going to see a very big spike. A lot of people are waiting to see what happens with the China deal."

At the same time, Trump said he is willing to walk away from a deal if the terms are unsatisfactory. "I'm confident" about reaching a deal with Beijing, he said. "But if we don't make a very good deal for our country, I wouldn't make a deal. If this isn't a great deal, I won't make a deal."

Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said the same day on Bloomberg Television that the American side does not want a "quick deal just to get a pop in the stock market" and that talks between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping "could go into April" -- downplaying previous reports of a meeting late this month at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

"The news reports of late March are ... in a loose sense accurate, but nothing in cement," he said.

"We want to get it right," Kudlow said.

Trump was "making a point" by walking out of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week in Hanoi without a deal, Kudlow said. "If these things are not in America's interests, whatever, whether it's a security deal or a trade deal -- if they're not in America's interests, he will not accept it," he said.

The Kudlow interview came on the heels of reports that Beijing is wary of rushing to a summit, given the many still-undecided details of a potential deal.

Trump has also been portrayed recently as wanting a stock market bump from closing a deal. Kudlow pushed back at this characterization.

"How many times [does] the president have to say it has to be a good deal for the United States across the board?" he asked, naming issues including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and hacking.

"There's no willy-nilly fast deal here to get 30 points on the Dow," Kudlow said. "This is a long-term, historic, historic opportunity for the future of the United States."

Kudlow also emphasized that he is not bearish. "I think there's a lot of optimism from the president," he said. "And I share his optimism."

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