The major averages eked out gains to close at fresh record highs on Monday as investors weighed conflicting messages on the U.S.-China trade front. The Dow added 31 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both added 0.1%.
Over the weekend, Beijing said that high-level negotiators held “constructive talks” over the phone on Saturday. However, U.S. equities wavered following a report that the overall mood surrounding a trade deal is negative, according to a Chinese government source. The small gains today extend Friday’s upbeat session, in which the major averages climbed to new record closing highs. The S&P 500 advanced 0.9% to notch a sixth-straight weekly gain, the longest such streak since 2017, while the Dow climbed 1.2%, surpassing the 28,000 level for the first time.
Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory with the Consumer Staples group pacing the gains. Energy stocks fell the most, with WTI crude losing 1.5% to $56.86/barrel. In corporate news, HP Inc fell 0.9% after rejecting Xerox’s unsolicited takeover offer. In earnings this week, a handful of retailers will post profit tallies, including Target, Macy’s, Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Treasuries strengthened, with the yield on the 10-year note down two basis points to 1.81%. On the data front, an update from the NAHB showed homebuilder confidence eased in November. In commodities, COMEX gold rose 0.3% to $1,472.10/ounce amid a weaker dollar. Market participants also focused on central bank updates, after President Trump described his meeting with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as “good and cordial.”