Stocks Edge Higher as Investors Watch for Trade News | Business News


By DAMIAN J. TROISE, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher on Wall Street Tuesday as investors kept a close watch on the latest developments coming out of U.S.-China negotiations.

The gains follow a record-setting day for the major indexes, fueled by hopes that the world’s two largest economies are making progress toward ending their trade war.

China said that key officials spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin early Tuesday. They agreed to more talks aimed at reaching a deal. The latest bit of information comes a day after China announced new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights, which has been a key issue in the dispute.

Retailers made some of the more significant gains, including Best Buy, after reporting solid earnings. Technology and industrial companies also rose.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.74% from 1.76% late Monday.

The lower yields weighed on banks, which use them to set interest rates on mortgages and other loans. Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all fell.

China remains the key focus for investors, though Wall Street will also have several economic reports to assess this week, along with the tail end of corporate earnings. On Wednesday, investors will see more home sales data, the latest GDP figures and a key measure of inflation. Heavy equipment maker Deere will report earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30 points, or 0.1%, to 28,101. The Nasdaq rose 0.2%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.3%.

European and Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST’S TAKE: Investors have grown more hopeful over trade negotiations as both sides continue to keep their rhetoric in check. That’s a clear difference from earlier this year, when a sharp comment from either side would seemingly silence any ongoing talks and worsen relations.

“Generally, you can kind of look at the commentary coming out and I’d say it leans in the direction of progress being made, albeit at a fairly slow pace,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede Trust.

MIXED SHOPPING BAG: Retailers are closing out the latest round of corporate earnings with varied results. Consumer electronics seller Best Buy rose 10.3% after handily beating Wall Street’s profit expectations for the quarter while giving a surprisingly good profit forecast.

Dicks Sporting Goods surged 20.7% after blowing away analysts’ profit forecasts for the third quarter. Discount retailer Dollar Tree plunged 15.6% after its profit fell short of Wall Street expectations.

FASHION FORWARD: PVH rose 1.1% after the owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands raised its profit forecast for the year. The company also beat Wall Street’s third-quarter profit and revenue estimates.

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