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US Stocks Open Sharply Higher on Renewed Optimism About Trade

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a sharply higher opening on Tuesday, with stocks likely to see further upside following the substantial recovery seen over the course of the previous session.

Renewed optimism about U.S.-China trade talks may generate early buying interest after a telephone call between top officials from the world?s two largest economies.

China?s Commerce Ministry said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

?Both sides exchanged views on putting into effect the consensus reached by the two countries? leaders at their meeting, and pushing forward the timetable and roadmap for the next stage of economic and trade consultations work,? the ministry said in a statement.

Indications the talks are moving forward has offset some of the skepticism about the potential for a trade deal after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day trade truce earlier this month.

A report from Bloomberg News that China is moving toward cutting tariffs on imported U.S.-made cars is likely to add to the positive sentiment.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said a proposal to reduce tariffs on cars made in the U.S. to 15 percent from the current 40 percent has been submitted to China?s Cabinet.

Just after his meeting with Xi, Trump claimed in a post on Twitter that China had agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S.

After moving sharply lower in morning trading, stocks staged a substantial turnaround over the course of the trading session on Monday. The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day and into positive territory.

The major averages all closed higher, although the Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts, climbing 51.27 points or 0.7 percent to 7,020.52. The Dow inched up 34.31 points or 0.1 percent to 24,423.26 and the S&P 500 edged up 4.64 points or 0.2 percent to 2,637.72.

The turnaround on Wall Street came as traders went bargain hunting after the early weakness extended the sell-off seen last week.

The Dow and the S&P 500 rebounded after hitting their lowest intraday levels in seven and eight months, respectively.

Light trading activity may have contributed to the volatility, as some traders remained on the sidelines amid a lack of major U.S. economic data.

The economic calendar remains relatively light throughout the week, although reports on producer and consumer price inflation, retail sales, and industrial production are likely to attract attention in the coming days.

Traders may nonetheless remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting next week.

With the Fed widely expected to raise interest rates by another quarter point, traders will closely scrutinize the accompanying statement for clues about future rate hikes.

The early weakness on Wall Street reflected lingering concerns about the global economic outlook along with skepticism about the potential for a long-term trade deal between the U.S. and China.

Negative sentiment was generated by the release of a report from the Chinese customs office showing slower export growth.

Chinese exports rose 5.4 percent in November from a year earlier, marking the weakest performance since a contraction in March. Import growth stood at 3 percent, the slowest since October of 2016.

Data showing that the Japanese economy contracted the most in over four years in the third quarter also added to investor worries over slowing global growth.

Technology stocks helped lead the rebound on Wall Street, as reflected by the significant advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Within the tech sector, software stocks turned in some of the best performances, with the Dow Jones Software Index jumping by 2 percent.

Considerable strength also emerged among semiconductor and networking stocks, driving the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index and the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, substantial weakness remained visible among energy stocks, which moved lower along with the price of crude oil.

Banking, steel, and housing stocks climbed off their worst levels but also ended the day notably lower, limiting the upside for the broad markets.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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