Stocks are modestly higher at midday, helped in equal parts from optimistic comments made by Fed Chair Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump. Powell said last night that he sees the glass being "more than half full" in terms of the economy, while also reiterating the stance that policy is appropriate and giving no indication of a shift in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, President Trump said the U.S. is in the "final throes" of reaching a trade deal with China, adding that he and the U.S. stand with protesters in Hong Kong and want to see democracy take hold there.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the advance goods trade deficit narrowed to $66.5B in October from a revised $70.5B in September as exports fell 0.7% and imports dropped 2.4%. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased to a five-month low of 125.5 in November from 126.1 in October. The Richmond Fed manufacturing index tumbled 9 points to -1 in November. New home sales declined 0.7% to a 733,000 unit pace in October, though that was stronger than expected. The Case Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.07% to 218.27 for September. The FHFA house price index rose 0.6% to 279.2 for September.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Best Buy (BBY) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) are both rising following the retailers' respective "beat and raise" quarterly reports. Best Buy, whose CFO Matt Bilunas said the company's updated FY20 guidance reflects "strong Q3 profitability as well as improved expectations for Q4," is seeing its shares gain 10%. Meanwhile, Dick's shares are up over 20% after what Baird analyst Peter Benedict described as a "blow-out performance" for the third quarter.
Xerox (XRX) made public a letter that the company sent to the board of HP Inc. (HPQ), in which it said that it plans "to engage directly with HP shareholders to solicit their support in urging the HP Board to do the right thing and pursue this compelling opportunity" to combine the company's, as Xerox has proposed.
In other M&A news, Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Peugeot-owner (PUGOY) PSA told workers they will sign a binding merger agreement in coming weeks, Reuters' Giulio Piovaccari and Gilles Guillaume reported, citing internal communications.
Alibaba (BABA) raised $11.2B via a stock offering in Hong Kong and shares completed their first day of trading there with a gain 6.5%. In New York trading, Alibaba shares are up fractionally near midday.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was ChemoCentryx (CCXI), which skyrocketed 243% after announcing data from the phase 3 ADVOCATE trial of avacopan for the treatment of patients with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis. This study met both of its primary endpoints, disease remission at 26 weeks and sustained remission at 52 weeks, the company noted.
Also higher were Nutanix (NTNX) and Arrowhead (ARWR), which gained a respective 16% and 17% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was HP Enterprise (HPE), which slid 10% after it reported quarterly results and reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal 2020.
Also lower after reporting quarterly results were Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Palo Alto Networks (PANW), which fell 16% and 12%, respectively.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 40.05, or 0.14%, to 28,106.52, the Nasdaq was up 15.21, or 0.18%, to 8,647.70, and the S&P 500 was up 4.95, or 0.16%, to 3,138.59.