landsberg bennettThe major averages climbed to new record highs in light trading as easing trade tensions continued to provide a tailwind to equity markets. The Dow gained 96 points, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.1% with the benchmark’s trading volume 20% below its 100-day average. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.2%, extending its daily winning streak to eight sessions.

China announced that it would cut tariffs on more than 850 products, bolstering confidence Washington and Beijing are progressing towards finalizing a “phase one” trade deal in the near term. Chinese officials also revealed that it would take steps to further liberalize market access for firms in industries such as telecommunications and energy. On the data front, a report showed that new home sales rose 1.3% in November, topping expectations of a slight decrease. Another release showed that durable goods orders fell 2% in November, missing expectations of a 1.5% increase. Treasuries modestly declined, with the yield on the 10-year note adding one basis point to 1.93%.

The Energy group paced the gains as WTI crude hovered near a three-month high. The Industrials sector also outperformed, with shares of Boeing rising 3% following news that CEO Dennis Muilenberg will resign amid the continued fallout from the 737 MAX crashes. In other corporate news, Disney lost 1.5% after its latest Star Wars film missed lofty box office expectations with domestic sales of $175 million in its opening weekend. In commodities, COMEX gold added 0.5% to $1,482.50/ounce, and remains on pace for its largest one-year rally (16%) since 2010.