Stocks have been modestly higher since the start of trading, though activity could be choppy to close out the session given today is both the end of the month and quarter. Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin denied Bloomberg's report on Friday that the administration was looking to restrict China's access to U.S. markets, including delisting stocks on U.S. indexes, and White House adviser Peter Navarro reiterated that message in a CNBC interview this morning. Meanwhile, Chinese equities closed nearly 1% lower ahead of the 70th anniversary celebrations that will close markets there through next Monday, despite better than expected PMI readings.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago PMI declined 3.3 points to 47.1 in September, which was weaker than expected. The Dallas Fed's manufacturing index dipped 1.2 points to 1.5 in September.
In China, the unofficial Caixin PMI unexpectedly jumped to 51.4 in the September reading from 50.4 in August. The official National Bureau of Statistics PMI also nudged higher to 49.8, though it remains below the 50 point no change mark, and the official non-manufacturing PMI fell back to 53.7 from 53.8.
TOP NEWS: Apple (AAPL) shares are 2% higher near noon after JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee established a December 2020 price target for the shares of $265, up from his from his December 2019 target to $243. The 2019 product cycle is largely considered to be a "muted one," said Chatterjee, who raised his iPhone volume forecasts for Apple's September quarter by 1M and for its December quarter by 3M units to account for stronger trends, particularly led by the iPhone 11 model amongst the new iPhones.
Boeing (BA) engineers working on a flight-control system for the 737 Max omitted key safeguards that had been included in an earlier version of the same system used on a military tanker jet, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
In M&A news, Dova Pharmaceuticals (DOVA) announced it has entered into an agreement and plan of merger with Swedish Orphan Biovitrum, or Sobi. Under the terms of the agreement, Dova stockholders will be offered an upfront payment for $27.50 per share in cash, along with one non-tradeable Contingent Value Right, or CVR, that entitles them to an additional $1.50 per share in cash upon regulatory approval of DOPTELET for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia, or CIT, representing a total potential consideration of $29.00 per share, or a total potential consideration of up to $915M on a fully diluted basis.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Seattle Genetics (SGEN), which rose 11% after announcing results from a Phase 1 clinical trial at an oncology conference.
Also higher was Thor Industries (THO), which gained 20% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was G1 Therapeutics (GTHX), which fell 27% after it presented the first clinical data results from a Phase 1/2a study of G1T48.
Also lower was Immunomedics (IMMU), which fell 12% after presenting interim data from the 100-patient cohort of cisplatin-eligible patients of the company's TROPHY-U-01 open-label Phase 2 study.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 157.82, or 0.59%, to 26,978.07, the Nasdaq was up 48.52, or 0.61%, to 7,988.15, and the S&P 500 was up 19.13, or 0.65%, to 2,980.92.