Wall St. rises as recovery hopes offset U.S. protests, China tensions

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged higher on Monday on prospects of a post-pandemic economic recovery, but the sentiment remained fragile amid protests across the country over race and an ongoing standoff between Washington and Beijing.

U.S. manufacturing activity eased off an 11-year low in May, an Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey showed, the strongest sign yet that the worst of the economic downturn was behind as businesses reopen.

“With the economic data beginning to ease off from their dire position two months ago, there is further upside as we head into the summer, which is normally a fairly difficult period for markets,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

The three main indexes had opened lower as National Guard troops were deployed over the weekend in 15 states and Washington, D.C. in an attempt to quell a sixth night of violence that began with peaceful protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody.

Target Corp and Walmart Inc closed stores during the unrest that included looting in many cities. Target and Walmart shares fell 1.9% and 0.9%, respectively.

Further denting the sentiment, reports said China had told state-owned firms to halt agricultural purchases from the United States, after Washington said it would eliminate special treatment for Hong Kong to punish Beijing.

“The tensions between the United States and China and the U.S. protests are beginning to make investors a little bit nervous,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

The escalation in Sino-U.S. tensions poses a major threat to the stock market’s rebound since late March that was powered by expectations of a recovery from the coronavirus-led downturn.

U.S. stocks had rebounded late in Friday’s session, with the S&P 500 logging its biggest two-month percentage gain since 2009, after President Donald Trump’s measures against China did not include a breakdown of the trade deal like many had feared.

At 10:16 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 30.31 points, or 0.12%, at 25,413.42, the S&P 500 was up 3.03 points, or 0.10%, at 3,047.34. The Nasdaq Composite was up 31.53 points, or 0.33%, at 9,521.40.

Healthcare stocks shed 1.2%, weighing the most on the benchmark index.

Pfizer Inc fell 7.6% after the drugmaker said the late stage trial of its breast cancer drug Ibrance was unlikely to meet the main goal of study.

Gilead Sciences Inc fell 3.8% after its antiviral drug remdesivir had mixed results in a late stage study of people with moderate COVID-19, as patients given a five-day course of the treatment showed statistically significant improvement, while those given it for 10-days did not.

Coty Inc jumped 19.8% after the cosmetics company appointed Chairman Peter Harf as its new chief executive officer.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.60-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.87-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 14 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 52 new highs and six new lows.

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Wall Street ends mostly higher as U.S.-China spat simmers

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Friday after President Donald Trump announced measures against China in response to new security legislation that were less threatening to the U.S. economy than investors had feared.

The Dow ended the session slightly lower, but all three indexes rose for the week and registered a second straight month of gains. The S&P 500 added 17.8% for April and May, its biggest two-month percentage gain since 2009.

The S&P 500 initially extended losses after Trump said he was directing his administration to begin the process of eliminating special treatment for Hong Kong in response to China’s plans to impose new security legislation in the semi-autonomous territory.

But Trump made no mention of any action that could undermine the Phase One trade deal that Washington and Beijing struck early this year, a concern that had cast a cloud over the market throughout the week.

“He began speaking in a very tough tone,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The market was worried he was going to announce something substantial, something detrimental to the U.S. economy. Then, as he spoke, it became clear the actions being taken were not going to be as dramatic as originally feared.”

Trump also said the United States is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, something he had threatened to do earlier this month.

S&P 500 technology shares .SPLRCT gave the index its biggest boost, while financials .SPSY were the biggest drag.

The latest confrontation between the U.S. and China has fueled concern that worsening tensions between the two world’s largest economies could derail the recent sharp gains in the stock market.

Expectations of a quick economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic have driven the S&P 500 .SPX up more than 30% from its March lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 17.53 points, or 0.07%, to 25,383.11, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 14.58 points, or 0.48%, to 3,044.31, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 120.88 points, or 1.29%, to 9,489.87.

For the month, the Dow added 3.9%, the S&P 500 gained 4.5%, and the Nasdaq rose 6.8%. For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 each rose more than 3%, and the Nasdaq gained 1.8%.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York City is “on track” to enter phase one of reopening on June 8, and he said five upstate regions will now transition to phase two.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, speaking in a webcast organized by Princeton University Friday, reiterated the U.S. central bank’s promise to use its tools to shore up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter (TWTR.N) was down 2% and Facebook Inc (FB.O) shares slipped 0.2%, a day after Trump signed an order threatening social media firms with new regulations over free speech.

Upscale department store chain Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N) slumped 11% after it reported a near 40% fall in quarterly sales due to pandemic-led store closures.

Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) slipped 3.5% as the cloud-based business software maker cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.04-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 60 new highs and 14 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.62 billion shares, compared to the 11.3 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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S&P 500, Dow dip on jitters over Trump's China response

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Dow slipped on Friday as investors were nervous ahead of a U.S. response to China’s national security law on Hong Kong that threatens to take the shine off another month of strong gains for the stock market.

President Donald Trump, who has warned of a tough response to China’s move, is expected to make an announcement later in the day.

“Tensions between the world’s two largest economies are as high as they’ve been in memory, higher than last year’s trade war that was economically focused,” Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Sachin Raghavan said.

Adding to the downbeat mood, economic data showed U.S. consumer spending dropped by a record in April as the COVID-19 pandemic undercut demand, buttressing expectations that the economy could contract in the second quarter at its steepest pace since the Great Depression.

Financial stocks .SPSY, the best performing S&P sector this week, were the biggest drag on the benchmark index.

Still, Wall Street’s main indexes were set to end May with a second straight month of gains on hopes of a return to economic normalcy after a coronavirus-led slump.

At 9:54 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 65.18 points, or 0.26%, at 25,335.46, and the S&P 500 .SPX was down 2.31 points, or 0.08%, at 3,027.42.

But the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 45.26 points, or 0.48%, at 9,414.25, with technology-focused firms Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) being a bright spot.

A day after Trump signed the order threatening social media firms with new regulations over free speech, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) hid a tweet from the President and accused him of breaking its rules by “glorifying violence”.

Twitter shares were down 2.8%.

Focus is also on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell who will speak in a public webcast, where he is expected to detail the central bank’s next phase of coronavirus response. The event is slated to start at 11:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).

Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) slipped 4.8% as the cloud-based business software maker cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers nearly 2-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.43-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and four new lows.

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Futures tick lower on jitters over Trump's China response

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow were set to open lower on Friday as investors braced for a U.S. response to China’s national security law on Hong Kong, threatening to take the shine off another month of strong gains for Wall Street.

President Donald Trump is due to make an announcement later in the day and has vowed a tough response to China’s move, which many fear could erode some of the U.S. economic privileges that Hong Kong enjoys.

U.S. stocks sold off in the closing hours of Thursday’s session as worries about worsening relations between the world’s two biggest economies and an expected executive order related to social media companies weighed on the sentiment.

“If Trump decides to proceed with mild action, like travel and/or financial sanctions on Chinese officials, we don’t expect equities to tumble much,” said Charalambos Pissouros, Cyprus-based senior market analyst at JFD Group.

“In case the U.S. response is a bolder one, like scrapping the ‘Phase One’ trade deal and/or imposing fresh tariffs, the slide in risk assets could be larger, bringing into question further recovery in the broader sentiment.”

Hopes of a quick post-pandemic economic recovery have driven the S&P 500 .SPX to a near three-month-high as it heads for its second straight month of gains.

A day after Trump signed the order threatening social media firms with new regulations over free speech, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) hid a tweet from the President and accused him of breaking its rules by “glorifying violence”.

Twitter shares were down 0.8% in premarket trading.

At 8:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 151 points, or 0.59%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 11.5 points, or 0.38% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 2.25 points, or 0.02%.

Focus is also on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell who will speak in a public webcast, where he is expected to detail the central bank’s next phase of coronavirus response. The event is slated to start at 11:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).

Among stocks, Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) slipped 3.4% as the cloud-based business software maker cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts.

Technology-focused companies Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) rose between 0.7% and 0.9%, after their rally lost steam in late May.

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S&P futures tread water as Sino-U.S. tensions weigh

(Reuters) – Futures contracts for the S&P 500 were largely flat on Thursday as investors weighed hopes of an economic recovery against underlying tensions between the United States and China.

Chipmakers, which are sensitive to China’s growth, were under pressure, with Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc dropping about 1% each in premarket trade.

President Donald Trump has promised action over China’s new national security legislation for Hong Kong by the end of the week.

Analysts have warned the souring relations between the world’s two largest economies in recent weeks over trade and the handling of the coronavirus outbreak pose the biggest threat to the stock market’s strong rally off the March lows.

The benchmark S&P 500 hit a near three-month high on Wednesday, closing above the key psychological level of 3,000 amid growing evidence of a pick up in business activity.

Investors will also focus on Labor Department’s data which is expected to show that more than 2 million Americans sought unemployment benefits for the 10th straight week. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 6:20 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 69 points, or 0.27% and S&P 500 e-minis were down 3 points, or 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 54.5 points, or 0.58%.

Micron Technology Inc dropped 1.1% despite raising its revenue forecast for the third quarter.

In a bright spot, Boeing Co climbed 4.2%, the most among the 25 Dow components trading before the bell, after the planemaker said it had resumed production of its 737 MAX passenger jet at its Washington plant.

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S&P 500 clears 3,000 barrier on economic recovery and vaccine hopes

New York (Reuters) – U.S. stocks jumped on Tuesday, propelling the S&P 500 past the key psychological level of 3,000 points as optimism about developing coronavirus vaccines and the revival of business activity helped investors overlook simmering China-U.S. tensions.

The benchmark S&P 500 crossed 3,000 for the first time since March 5, but came off session highs after White House adviser Larry Kudlow said President Donald Trump was “so miffed with China on virus and other matters that the trade deal is not as important to him as it once was.”

Still, all 11 S&P sector indexes were higher, with cyclical financials .SPSY up 5.7% and industrials .SPLRCI rising 4.7%.

The S&P 500 .SPX has risen about 37% from its March lows on central bank and government stimulus at a time when the U.S. economy is seeing its biggest job losses since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is now about 11% below its February record high.

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On Monday, California, which has had one of the country’s most restrictive shutdowns, said it would allow retail businesses to offer in-store shopping and places of worship to reopen.

“There’s more optimism about the vaccines and all the 50 states have reopened to various degrees,” leading to optimism that the U.S. economy would improve, said John Praveen, portfolio manager at QMA, a PGIM company.

Data showed U.S. consumer confidence nudged up in May, adding to hopes that the worst of the economic impact of the shutdown is in the past.

(GRAPHIC – S&P futures scale 3000: here)

At 2:05 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 673.38 points, or 2.75%, to 25,138.54, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 56.27 points, or 1.90%, to 3,011.72, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 87.61 points, or 0.94%, to 9,412.20.

U.S. biotech group Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) jumped 8% as it joined the race to test coronavirus vaccine candidates on humans and enrolled its first participants. Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) added 2% as it announced plans to develop two separate vaccines.

With macroeconomic data pointing at a deep recession, analysts warned that financial markets could be betting on too fast a recovery.

“The impact on the economy and corporate earnings will be seen for several quarters, (and) I’m not sure if it has been completely baked into the equity prices,” Robert Wyrick, chief investment officer at Post Oak Private Wealth Advisors in Houston, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum.

Beaten-down travel-related stocks soared, with the S&P 1500 airlines index .SPCOMAIR up about 13.4%. Cruise operators including Carnival Corp (CCL.N) were more than 13.7%.

The New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday partially reopened its trading floors at the iconic 11 Wall Street building, which had been closed since March 23.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 6.68-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.27-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 103 new highs and eight new lows.

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Warner Music looks to raise $1.82 billion in Nasdaq listing

(Reuters) – Warner Music Group said on Tuesday it expects to raise up to $1.82 billion in its initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange, as some companies gingerly test investor appetite after the COVID-19 pandemic put many debuts on hold.

The recording label, home to artistes including Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, expects its offering of 70 million shares to be priced between $23 and $26 per share, valuing it at about $13.26 billion.

The world’s third-largest music recording label had in March delayed it plans to kick off the debut, set to be one of the year’s bigger IPOs.

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Wall Street dips as U.S.-China tensions add to economic woes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes dropped on Friday as Sino-U.S. tensions weighed on markets struggling to gauge the pace of economic recovery from the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump’s statement on China’s plan for a national security law in Hong Kong on Thursday raised concerns over Washington and Beijing possibly reneging on their Phase-1 trade deal.

Fears of a renewed trade war cut short Wall Street’s April rally that was powered by optimism over a potential COVID-19 vaccine and the U.S. economy gradually emerging from the lockdowns.

The three main U.S. stock indexes have kept to a tight range in May, but are still on course for weekly gains between 2.5% and 2.8%.

“It’s a bit of a push-pull as there’s some positive news from a healthcare perspective at least, but then we also have the rhetoric ramping up with China,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“Investors may be a little bit nervous, may pull in their horns ahead of a three-day weekend.”

At 11:23 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 137.22 points, or 0.56%, at 24,336.90, the S&P 500 was down 9.75 points, or 0.33%, at 2,938.76 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 18.07 points, or 0.19%, at 9,266.81.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sub-indexes were trading lower, led by energy as oil prices sank 5%. [O/R]

Real Estate stocks were up in some defensive plays, while losses were limited in the consumer staples sector.

Mixed retail earnings from Walmart Inc, Best Buy Co Inc and Home Depot Inc earlier in the week had shown online shopping gaining traction due to the stay-at-home orders, a trend that could damage brick-and-mortar players.

On Friday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, but its shares slipped 4.4%. Smaller rival Pinduoduo Inc’s U.S.-listed shares gained 9.6% after posting upbeat earnings report.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell 11.5% after missing second-quarter revenue and profit estimates, hit by global lockdowns since February.

Data analytics software maker Splunk Inc rose 10.7% after saying it expects higher demand for its cloud services as people around the world take to working from home.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 1.9-to-1 on the NYSE and nearly matched them on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and six new lows.

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Futures retreat as trade tensions add to pandemic woes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday as growing trade tensions with China added to worries about the pace of a recovery from a coronavirus-fueled economic slump even with several countries easing lockdowns.

Simmering tensions between the world’s two biggest economies over the origin of the novel coronavirus have slowed a Wall Street rally this month, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have still inched up to hit multi-month highs amid some optimism over economic recovery.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at Beijing, calling the $2 billion it has pledged to fight the pandemic as “paltry”.

Investors are also awaiting the latest weekly jobless claims data, which is due at 8:30 a.m. ET and is expected to show millions more Americans filing for unemployment benefits due to layoffs and mass furloughs as a result of the lockdown.

Still, claims have gradually declined since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28 and Thursday’s report could offer early clues on how quickly businesses re-hire as they reopen.

At 06:25 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 152 points, or 0.62%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 19 points, or 0.64%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 55.75 points, or 0.59%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were down 0.56%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed up 1.67% at 2,971.61​ on Wednesday.

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Futures jump as investors hold out for recovery

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures climbed on Wednesday as investors clung to hopes of a recovery from a looming coronavirus-fuelled recession amid signs of more central bank and government stimulus for ailing sectors.

Home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc jumped 8.4% in premarket trade after becoming the latest retailer to report an upbeat quarterly same-store sales.

A Wall Street rally from April has lost steam this month as investors weigh hopes of a revival in business activity amid easing lockdowns against conflicting reports about progress in developing a potential coronavirus vaccine.

The U.S. stock market moved sharply lower in the final hour of Tuesday’s session after a report raised doubts about Moderna Inc’s recent coronavirus vaccine early-stage trial results.

“With headlines suggesting that more fiscal and monetary stimulus around the globe is under way and with the virus curve being much flatter than a couple of months ago, we would treat yesterday’s setback as a corrective move,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the government and the central bank were considering additional measures to ensure the worst stricken areas of the economy received adequate support.

At 6:27 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 287 points, or 1.19%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 32.5 points, or 1.11% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 97.25 points, or 1.05%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs were up 1.19%.

The heavyweight FAANGs group – Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple, Netflix Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc – rose between 0.9% and 2.6% in early trading.

Big Wall Street banks including Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co gained about 2%.

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