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Market Snapshot: Stocks push higher on upbeat expectations around U.S-China trade prospects

Stocks saw a higher start on Wall Street Monday as investors remained attuned to developments in the U.S.-China trade relationship and cheered a wave of merger activity.

How did the major benchmarks fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.43% advanced 93 points, or 0.3%, to 27,969. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.89% climbed 55 points, or 0.7%, to 8,575, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.55% rose 13 points, or 0.4%, to 3,124. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both trading above their record closing levels from last week.

Stocks ended with gains Friday but posted a losing week. The Dow saw a 0.5% weekly decline to end at 27,875.62, while the S&P 500 saw a 0.3% weekly decline to 3,110.29 — ending a six-week run of weekly gains. The Nasdaq Composite saw a weekly fall of 0.3%, finishing Friday at 8,519.88.

What drove the market?

Analysts said investors remain sensitive to headlines around U.S.-China trade talks, with remarks Saturday by Robert O’Brien, the U.S. national security adviser, in the spotlight. O’Brien told reporters at a security conference in Halifax that a “phase one” deal between the U.S. and China by the end of the year still appeared possible, Reuters reported, while also warning that the U.S. would not “turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Hong Kong or what’s happening in the South China Sea, or other areas of the world where we’re concerned about China’s activity.”

Contributing to the positive tone, the Chinese government on Sunday released a document calling for more protection of intellectual property rights.

“The Chinese government have typically offered to purchase more agricultural goods from the U.S., but that will only gain a limited amount of traction with the Trump administration, but genuine progress regarding IP could help get phase one wrapped up,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC, in a note.

Meanwhile, the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong swept to a resounding victory in weekend elections, winning a commanding majority in the vote for 452 district council seats. District councils have little power, but the showing could put pressure on the government to negotiate with protesters demanding democratic elections for the city’s legislature and chief executive. The result is also seen as a defeat for Beijing, which has pushed Hong Kong to crack down on protests.

Read:Why are markets ignoring escalating conflict in Hong Kong?

On the economic calendar, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for October fell to a reading of negative 0.71, from negative 0.45 in the previous month.

Investors will hear from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at 7 p.m. Eastern, when he is scheduled to deliver a speech on building gains on a long expansion.

What stocks are in focus?

In corporate news, The Charles Schwab Corp.SCHW, -0.87% and TD Ameritrade AMTD, +3.20%announced a deal that will see Schwab acquire Ameritrade in an all-stock transaction valued at around $26 billion. Reports the two discount brokers were in talks for a potential merger broke last week, sending shares of both company higher. Schwab shares fell Monday, while Ameritrade shares rose.

Shares of Uber Technologies Inc.UBER, -1.37% were down after the global ride-hailing company was stripped of its London license.

General Electric Co. shares GE, +1.65% may also be in focus after the company said it named Carolina Dybeck Happe as its chief financial officer effective in early 2020. Dybeck Happe, CFO of shipping company A.P. Moeller-Maersk, will replace Jamie Miller, who is leaving the company.

LVMHsaid on Monday that it would purchase U.S. jeweler Tiffany & Co. TIF, +5.89%for $16.2 billion in cash, adding to the luxury goods company’s stable of brands including Louis Vuitton and Dior. Shares of Tiffany were up 5.8%.

Ebay’s shares EBAY, +1.28% rose 4.7% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the retailer was nearing a deal to sell its ticketing business StubHub to Viagogo for $4 billion, citing people familiar with the matter.

How did other markets trade?

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.82% was down less than a basis point to 1.765%.

In commodities and precious metals, gold extended its drop after falling on Wednesday, with gold for December delivery GCZ19, -0.36% declining $6.70, or 0.5%, to trade at $1456.90 an ounce on Comex. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery CLF20, -0.50% fell 25 cents to $57.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.01%, representing a basket of the greenback’s trading rivals, rose 0.1%.

Meanwhile, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.86% was trading up 0.1%. In Asia, stocks traded higher; the China CSI 300 000300, +0.73% closed up 0.7%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.78% gained 0.8% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +1.50% rose 1.5%.