Stocks rose after China exempted some U.S. imports as both sides prepare to restart trade talks in early October. Meanwhile, President Trump is keeping up his pressure on the Federal Reserve, calling on the central bank to "get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less." According to Trump, "It is only the naivete of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn't allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of 'Boneheads.'"
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Producer Prices Index edged up 0.1% in August, while the core rate popped up 0.3%, both of which were a little hotter than expected. The July wholesale trade report slightly undershot estimates with a lean wholesale sales bounce of 0.3% and a 0.2% rise for July inventories that matched the advance reading. In trade news, Kyodo News reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping voiced distrust of U.S. President Donald Trump during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in June amid the U.S.-China trade conflict.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Apple (AAPL) rose 3.2% after the company unveiled the new iPhone 11 series, the new Apple Watch and iPad, and gave an update on pricing for its upcoming online streaming service at its Special Event yesterday afternoon. Following the event, both Needham and Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised their price targets on the stock to $250, while Morgan Stanley highlighted that Apple's announcements offered "some upside surprises," including lower than expected TV+ pricing.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said at the White House that the Food and Drug Administration will move to ban flavored electronic cigarettes. Publicly traded companies in the tobacco space include Altria Group (MO), which owns 35% of Juul Labs, British American Tobacco (BTI), Imperial Brands (IMBBY) and Philip Morris (PM).
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has reached a tentative settlement with 22 state attorneys general and over 2,000 cities and counties that sued the drug maker and accused it of fueling the opioid crisis. Under the terms of the agreement, which certain AGs still oppose, the Sackler family would relinquish control of Purdue and the company would declare bankruptcy and be resurrected as a trust whose main purpose would be to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Post. The deal is said to be worth $10B to $12B, including a $3B payment from the Sacklers' personal funds, the report added.
In M&A news, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited announced that it has made a proposal to the board of London Stock Exchange Group (LNSTY) to combine the two companies. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, London Stock Exchange shareholders would receive 2,045 pence in cash and 2.495 newly issued Hong Kong Exchanges shares, which implies a premium of 22.9% to the closing share price of 6,804 pence on September 10.
Additionally, AT&T (T) shares rose 3.1% after CFO John Stephens said at the Bank of America Communications & Entertainment Conference that he is looking forward to meeting with Elliott Management to discuss the firm's ideas, adding that the company is looking at the potential to sell its Regional Sports Networks. Stephens also noted in his presentation that carriage disputes will have some impact on third quarter subscriber totals.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Aimmune Therapeutics (AIMT), which rose 15.4% after the FDA posted briefing documents for a panel meeting to review the application for the company's proposed peanut allergy treatment. Also higher was Alcoa (AA), which gained 6.5% after Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral and raised his price target for the shares to $27 from $26.
Among the notable losers was Dave & Buster's (PLAY), which slid 4.6% after the company reported quarterly results and expanded its buyback program to $800M but lowered its fiscal 2019 revenue guidance. Also lower after reporting quarterly results were Zscaler (ZS) and GameStop (GME), which fell a respective 19.4% and 9.8%.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 227.61, or 0.85%, to 27,137.04, the Nasdaq gained 85.52, or 1.06%, to 8,169.68, and the S&P 500 advanced 21.54, or 0.72%, to 3,000.93.