Stocks

Wall Street crawls to record levels on trade hopes

Reuters New York | Updated on November 27, 2019 Published on November 27, 2019

File photo   -  istock.com/robertcicchetti

Nasdaq Composite adds 15.45 points

The United States (US) stocks crawled higher on Tuesday, and all three major Wall Street indexes notched record levels, as upbeat comments by President Donald Trump on trade talks eclipsed some softer-than-anticipated economic data.

Trump said the US and China were close to an agreement on the first phase of a deal, while stressing Washington's support for protesters in Hong Kong, a point of contention between the world's two largest economies.

“Right now the characterization is things are pretty good so we are kind of gaining on it, but until it is done, it is not done. So a holding pattern is probably, unfortunately, a very appropriate place for the market to be right about now,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 55.21 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 28,121.68, the S&P 500 gained 6.88 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 3,140.52 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.45 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 8,647.93.

Walt Disney Co gained 1.30 per cent after a report that its streaming service was averaging nearly 1 million new subscribers a day. The stock helped keep the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the plus side, providing about 20 points to the upside.

Rising hopes for a trade deal between the world's two largest economies, solid U.S. economic indicators and a third-quarter corporate earnings season that has largely topped lowered expectations have pushed stocks higher. The three major indexes have now notched a record close in five of the past eight sessions.

Also supporting stocks has been the dovish turn by the Federal Reserve, which has cut interest rates three times this year. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday that monetary policy was “well positioned” to support the strong labor market.

Investors are watching for signs on the health of the consumer for the holiday shopping season. Consumer confidence fell for a fourth straight month in November but remained at levels sufficient to support a steady pace of consumer spending, according to data on Tuesday. A separate report showed that new home sales unexpectedly dropped in October, although data for the prior month was revised up, with purchases hitting their highest level in over 12 years.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The consumer discretionary sector rose 0.81 per cent and provided the biggest boost, led by a 9.86 per cent jump in shares of Best Buy Co Inc following a strong holiday-quarter profit forecast.

In contrast, Dollar Tree Inc tumbled 15.24 per cent after it projected holiday-quarter profit below estimates, signaling the fallout from the trade dispute.

Best Buy was the best performer on the S&P 500, while Dollar Tree was the biggest drag on both the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Among other stocks, Hewlett Packard (HP) Enterprise Co fell 8.48 per cent as the enterprise software maker missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.96 billion shares, compared to the 7.12 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. Trading volume is expected to lighten considerably in the sessions surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by a 1.34-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 36 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 120 new highs and 66 new lows.

Published on November 27, 2019
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