The Week In Review
U.S.-China trade tensions weighed at the start of Monday's session, but sentiment eventually improved, allowing stocks to escape with just minor damage.
The benchmark S&P 500 index finished with a loss of 0.2%, but was down 0.8% at the opening bell. As for the other major averages, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished flat, and the small-cap Russell 2000 advanced 0.5%, closing at a new all-time high.
Washington and Beijing remain at odds over trade after President Trump confirmed on Friday that he has approved a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods -- to which Beijing swiftly responded by vowing to implement equivalent duties on U.S. goods. There weren't any new developments over the weekend.
Most S&P 500 sectors finished Monday in negative territory, with health care (-1.0%), consumer staples (-1.5%), and telecom services (-2.0%) leading the retreat. However, all other declining sectors finished with modest losses of no more than 0.4%.
Within the health care space, Biogen (BIIB 289.12, -15.91) was particularly weak, losing 5.2%, after rival PTC Therapeutics (PTCT 47.88, +10.33) announced positive trial results for its experimental spinal muscular atrophy drug. PTCT shares spiked 27.5%, hitting a fresh three-year high.
The energy sector (+1.1%) was the top-performing group by a wide margin following reports that Friday's OPEC/non-OPEC meeting could end with producers agreeing on a less-than-expected increase in output. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rebounded from a two-month low on Monday, rallying 1.2% to $65.85/bbl.
The top-weighted technology sector (+0.3%) also finished in the green, even though chipmakers underperformed. Semiconductor giant Intel (INTC 53.22, -1.89), for instance, dropped 3.4% after its shares were downgraded to 'Under Perform' from 'Market Perform' at Northland Capital. Tech giants Microsoft (MSFT 100.86, +0.73), Facebook (FB 198.31, +2.46), and Alphabet (GOOG 1173.46, +21.20) rallied, adding between 0.7% and 1.8%.
Elsewhere, media names were in focus once again after CNBC's David Faber reported that Walt Disney (DIS 107.06, -1.79) is planning to add cash to its bid for the bulk of 21st Century Fox's (FOXA 44.56, -0.10) assets. Disney's upped offer is a response to last week's $65 billion all-cash bid from Comcast (CMCSA 32.58, -1.30).
Also of note, GameStop (GME 15.20, +1.24) jumped 8.9% after Reuters reported that the company is holding talks with private equity firms over a potential transaction, and Rent-A-Center (RCII 14.68, +2.65) spiked 22.0% after agreeing to be acquired by Vintage Capital for $15.00 per share in cash.
On the data front, Monday's lone economic report, the NAHB Housing Market Index for June, came in at 68, slightly lower than the Briefing.com consensus of 70.
Headlines provided by Briefing.com