Major averages close with gains after U.S, China sign off on "phase one" of trade deal
Stocks spent most of the day higher as the U.S. and China conducted an official signing ceremony for the "phase one" trade deal that the two countries had previously announced but not ratified. At the lengthy White House event related to the signing, President Donald Trump said that existing tariffs levied against China would be removed if and when a "phase two" agreement is reached. The major averages dipped late in the session as the language of the deal was examined, but they recovered heading into the close to end with gains across the board.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Producer Prices Index gained 0.1% in December, with the core PPI reading also up 0.1%. The Empire State manufacturing index rose 1.5 points to 4.8 in January, which was better than expected.
In trade news, the U.S. and China officially announced an initial trade agreement that will roll back certain tariffs and increase Chinese purchases of U.S. goods and services. Commenting on the "phase one" deal, U.S. President Donald Trump said that additional tariff rollbacks will occur if a "phase two" deal is reached with Beijing. In other trade news, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration secretly threatened to impose a 25% tariff on European vehicles if Germany, France and Britain refused to call out Tehran and begin a dispute mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
TOP NEWS: Bank reporting season continued with Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) this morning's notable big names. BofA, which reported better than expected headline earnings but lower than expected revenue net of interest expense, saw its shares drop 1.8% following its report. Meanwhile, Goldman shares closed fractionally lower following a headline earnings miss that was influenced by the firm's net provisions for litigation and regulatory proceedings of $1.24B due to its ongoing 1MDB issues.
Shares of Target (TGT) slid 6.6%% after the big box store reported November and December comparable store sales growth of 1.4% and lowered its Q4 sales guidance. Shares of toymakers Hasbro (HAS) and Mattel (MAT) fell 2.1% and 4.6%, respectively, as Target blamed its softer than expected performance on key holiday categories, including toys.
Elsewhere on the earnings front, UnitedHealth (UNH) shares rose 2.9% after the insurer posted better than expected headline earnings and guided to better than expected revenue in its new fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Comcast's (CMCSA) Universal Pictures and AT&T's (T) Warner Bros. are seeking to establish a joint venture tasked with distributing DVDs and Blu-ray discs in the U.S. and Canada, according to media reports.
Additionally, GeekWire reported that Apple (AAPL) has acquired Seattle startup Xnor.ai. Sources told GeekWire that Apple paid roughly $200M for the company, which specializes in low-power, edge-based artificial intelligence tools.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was NIO Inc. (NIO), which rose 14.1% in New York trading after saying it has explored financing and strategic opportunities with Guangzhou Automobile Group. Also higher was Organigram (OGI), which surged 45.4% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR), which slid 16% after withdrawing its new drug application for oxycodegol and announcing it will make no further investment into the program following a FDA panel vote that did not support approval. Also lower was PNC Financial (PNC), which fell 3.6% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 90.55, or 0.31%, to 29,030.22, the Nasdaq gained 7.37, or 0.08%, to 9,258.70, and the S&P 500 advanced 6.14, or 0.19%, to 3,289.29.