The S&P ended four days of declines following a report about the potential for a tariff pause, though President Trump, and his advisors, continue to repeat the threat that not only could tariffs stay in place but more duties could be placed on Chinese imports.
Chinese and American officials continue to jockey with their rhetoric before the highly anticipated meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on Saturday at the Group of 20 conference in Japan.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims climbed 10,000 to 227,000 in the week ended June 22, which was higher than forecast. Q1 GDP growth was left unrevised at the 3.1% growth rate previously reported in the government's second estimate. An index of pending home sales jumped 1.1% to 105.4 in May.
In trade news, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said no preconditions are in place prior to any talks with China, according to Reuters. This appeared to refute an earlier report from the South China Morning Post that the two sides were laying out an agreement that would help avert the next round of tariffs on an additional $300B of Chinese imports.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Boeing (BA) fell almost 3% after the FAA announced last night that it "recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate" before returning the 737 MAX to service. Bloomberg subsequently reported that Boeing could take as long as three months to fix the latest software problem discovered when a pilot running 737 MAX simulator tests experienced a lag in an emergency response.
Ford (F) announced that it is launching a new business model and fresh vehicle line-up as part of what it called "the most comprehensive redesign in the history of its business in Europe." Ford estimated that approximately 12,000 jobs will be impacted at its wholly owned facilities and consolidated joint ventures in Europe by the end of 2020 due to plant closures and other restructuring efforts. In other cost-cutting news, chemicals giant BASF (BASFY) announced an organizational realignment that it said "is creating the conditions for greater customer proximity, increased competitiveness and more profitable growth." In the course of the implementation, BASF expects a reduction of a total of around 6,000 positions worldwide until the end of 2021.
After CNBC's David Faber broke news that Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) hired Centerview Partners to explore its alternatives, the company confirmed in a press release that it is conducting a broad review of potential strategic alternatives, "including a sale, joint venture or spin-off of a portion of the company's assets; a recapitalization of the company; changes in the corporate structure of the company; or a sale of the company." Shares of Howard Hughes surged 41.75% following the confirmation of the review.
Meanwhile, the European Commission said that it has approved the acquisition of Red Hat (RHT) by IBM (IBM) without conditions.
Additionally, Reuters reported that Russian internet search company Yandex (YNDX) was hacked by Western intelligence agencies in late 2018. The malware used in the breach, called Reign, is known to be used by the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance of the U.S, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, according to Reuters.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Zogenix (ZGNX), which rose 20.9% after it announced an FDA agrement to proceed with the resubmission of the NDA for Fintepla. Also higher was Rite Aid (RAD), which jumped 20.5% after reporting quarterly results and after Amazon announced the U.S. launch of Counter, which is live today in more than 100 Rite Aid stores across the U.S.
Among the notable losers was WageWorks (WAGE), which slid 1.4% after entering into a definitive agreement under which HealthEquity (HQY) will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of the company for $51.35 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $2B. HealthEquity shares rose almost 5% after the news. Also higher were ConAgra (CAG) and Patterson Companies (PDCO), which fell 12.1% and 4.9%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 10.24, or 0.04%, to 26,526.58, the Nasdaq gained 57.79, or 0.73%, to 7,967.76, and the S&P 500 advanced 11.14, or 0.38%, to 2,924.92.