Stocks end sharply higher amid hopes for U.S.-China trade talks
Stocks closed the session sharply higher, with all major U.S. averages rising over 1% after a spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce said that the U.S. and Beijing have maintained "effective" communication on trade. The spokesman, however, noted that China "firmly" rejects an escalation of the tariff dispute. U.S. GDP for the second quarter was revised to 2% from 2.1%, while personal consumption expenditures were changed to 4.7% from 4.3% and business spending was revised to -1.1% from -0.8%.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., second quarter GDP was nudged to a 2.0% growth rate, versus the 2.1% clip from the Advance report, and 3.1% in Q1. Jobless claims rose 4,000 to 215,000 in the U.S. in the week ended August 24 after falling 10,000 to 211,000 previously. The U.S. advance indicators report revealed a small downside import surprise that left a narrowing in the July trade gap, alongside a big upside retail inventory surprise, a small gain for wholesale inventories. Meanwhile, U.S. pending home sales declined 2.5% to 105.6 in July, weaker than expected and largely unwinding the 2.8% climb to 108.3 in June.
In trade news, CNBC reported that Gao Feng, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, said that the country "firmly" rejects an escalation of the trade war with the U.S. and is willing to negotiate and collaborate in order to reach an agreement. Feng said that Chinese and U.S. trade delegations have maintained "effective" communication, though he did not confirm U.S. President Donald Trump's claim on Monday that the Chinese team called the U.S. over the weekend with the desire of coming to an agreement soon.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Apple (AAPL) gained 1.7% after the company sent out invitations to the media for its annual event, scheduled for September 10, where it is expected to announce new iPhone models. The news follows a note from Nomura Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal, who said that consensus fiscal Q1 iPhone estimates "may be "optimistic" while the shape of the 5G cycle "remains uncertain."
On the earnings front, Dollar General (DG) shares rose 10.7% after the discount retailer reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter, with comparable sales rising 4% year-over-year in Q2. The company also raised its outlook for fiscal 2019, with CEO Todd Vasos saying the strength of the quarterly results "further validates" the company's strategy going forward. Meanwhile, rival Dollar Tree (DLTR) fell nearly 2% after reporting Q2 results, providing Q3 guidance, and boosting its FY19 guidance. Of note, Dollar Tree commented on recent tariffs on Chinese goods, saying it is implementing actions that may mitigate the recently announced tariff increases.
Meanwhile, Altria (MO) shares closed 3.5% lower after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the marketing practices of Juul Labs, of which Altria owns 35%. FTC investigators are examining whether Juul engaged in deceptive marketing, including by targeting minors or using influencers, and is determining whether to seek monetary damages, sources told the Journal. Additionally, Bloomberg later reported that a probe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administriation into whether e-cigarettes can cause seizures was triggered by a handful of people who reportedly used Juul devices. The news comes as Altria is currently in merger talks with rival Philip Morris (PM), whose shares were down over 2%.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was PVH Corp. (PVH), which rose 6.3% after it reported better-than-expected quarterly results and provided guidance for the third quarter. Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Guess (GES) and Nutanix (NTNX), which gained a respective 20.5% and 22.5%.
Among the notable losers was Realogy (RLGY), which dropped 22.8% after announcing an end to its USAA military rewards program. Also lower were Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM), which fell 27.5% and 6.7%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 326.15, or 1.25%, to 26,362.25, the Nasdaq gained 116.51, or 1.48%, to 7,973.39, and the S&P 500 advanced 36.64, or 1.27%, to 2,924.58.
Keywords: fly intel, wall street, top stories, stocks