The S&P 500 (+0.9%) advanced for a third straight session on Wednesday, extending its weekly gain to 1.6%. The Dow (+0.7%) and the Nasdaq (+1.2%) also climbed, with the Nasdaq hitting a new record. Stocks held modest gains with 30 minutes left in the session, but spiked to new highs following headlines that President Trump has secured trade concessions from the EU.
President Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the White House on Thursday afternoon. As mentioned above, the sides reached a trade deal, but the details were still being worked out at the closing bell. The U.S. and the EU have reportedly agreed to lower industrial tariffs on both sides, and the EU has pledged to import more soybeans and liquefied natural gas and to give U.S. medical devices better market access.
As for auto tariffs, which Mr. Trump had previously threatened to impose on EU vehicles, no new information was available as of 4:00 PM ET. The Wall Street Journal reported that the two sides were still trying to fine tune language in a common statement. Mr. Trump and Mr. Juncker will conclude their meeting with a joint press conference.
The latest batch of Q2 earnings invoked a mixed reaction from investors. Coca-Cola (KO 46.09, +0.83, +1.8%) and UPS (UPS 120.20, +7.76, +6.9%) both rallied after reporting their results, while AT&T (T 30.25, -1.43, -4.5%), Boeing (BA 355.92, -2.35, -0.7%), and Texas Instruments (TXN 113.22, -0.58, -0.5%) sold off.
Automakers General Motors (GM 37.65, -1.83) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU 17.00, -2.28) also came under pressure, tumbling 4.6% and 11.8%, respectively, after both companies issued disappointing guidance for the fiscal year. GM narrowly beat earnings estimates, while Fiat Chrysler came up short.
As for the sector standings, 10 of 11 groups finished in the green, with the lightly-weighted telecom space (-2.9%) being the lone exception. The top-weighted technology sector (+1.5%) was the best performer, helped by a reversal in chipmakers; the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index was down as much as 1.3%, but finished higher by 0.5%. Industrials (+1.3%) and health care (+1.2%) also outperformed, while the rest added between 0.3% and 1.0%.
Elsewhere, U.S. Treasuries finished mostly higher, pushing the benchmark 10-yr yield lower by one basis point to 2.94%. The U.S. Dollar Index dropped 0.4% to 94.00, and WTI crude futures rallied 1.1% to $69.31 per barrel after the EIA reported an unexpected draw of 6.1 million barrels.
Reviewing Wednesday's economic data, which was limited to New Home Sales for June and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index:
- New Home Sales in June hit an annualized rate of 631,000, which is below the Briefing.com consensus of 670,000. The May reading was revised to 666,000 (from 689,000).
- The key takeaway from the report is that the June decline represented the largest monthly drop since December, and it took place despite a decline in median and average selling prices.
- The weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index decreased 0.2% after sliding 2.5% last week.
Looking ahead, investors will receive several economic reports on Thursday, including Durable Goods Orders for June, the advance readings for June Wholesale Inventories and International Trade in Goods, and the weekly Initial Claims report.
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