Stocks Edge Higher After Trade Deal Signed

16 Janvier, 2020, 09:40 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Jan 13 2020

"The signing of the trade deal is a welcome step in the de-escalation of the trade war which has weighed heavily on the US and global economies", said Luke Tilley, chief economist at money manager Wilmington Trust Corp.in Delaware.

Health care stocks accounted for much of the market's gains.

U.S. Treasurys gained, lowering the yield on the 10-year note by 2.6 basis points to 1.792 percent. Utilities and makers of household goods also rose. UnitedHealth Group rose 2.8% after solid fourth-quarter earnings report. But the deal does not remove existing tariffs. Investors had been eagerly awaiting the signing of the so-called phase one trade agreement as the conflict between the world's largest economies has dragged on for almost two years.

Expectations for the corporate earnings season were relatively low.

"We're expecting a reacceleration in the back end of the year, so any (company) guidance that brings any type of skepticism to that could threaten the recent rally we've had and the gains that we've accrued in the past few months", he said.

A survey of business conditions in various Federal Reserve districts, known as the Beige Book, was released on Wednesday, indicated economic activity expanded modestly during the final six weeks of 2019 and the labor market remained tight with businesses reporting difficulty finding workers, although there were job cuts in the manufacturing, transportation and energy sectors. Its stock rose 2.8%.

The deal commits China to do more to crack down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by its companies and state entities.

Other health insurers also moved higher. Microsoft rose 0.8% and Advanced Micro Devices gained 0.9%.

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Many investors, however, are already looking ahead to a potentially rosier earnings outlook once Washington and China resolve their trade dispute.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil added 0.5% to $58.10 a barrel. The pickup in mortgage applications reflects heightened demand for homes and suggests many people are eager to buy a home now rather than waiting for the traditional late-February start of the spring homebuying season.

And Target (TGT) lost 6.6% after reporting disappointing holiday same-store sales. Hovnanian Enterprises climbed 4.5%.

Target's comparable sales grew just 1.4 per cent in November and December, with weakness in electronics, toys and some other categories weighing on performance.

In commodities, USA crude oil futures tumbled 0.7% to $57.81 after new government data showed a huge increase in stockpiles of oil and processed fuels. Brent crude oil, the worldwide standard, dropped 49 cents to close at $64 a barrel. Heating oil declined 3 cents to $1.88 per gallon. The euro strengthened to $1.1150 from $1.1128.

The dollar rose to 109.88 Japanese yen from 109.93 yen on Tuesday.

UnitedHealth Group Inc UNH.N , the largest US health insurer, rose 2.8% as it affirmed its full-year outlook for 2020 adjusted earnings. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.5% lower.

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