Stocks finished higher Monday, with the S&P 500 capping its best January to September performance in 12 years, rising 18.7% year-to-date. The Dow climbed 96 points, while the S&P 500 added 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.8%. For the month, the Dow rallied 2%, the S&P 500 rose 1.7%, and the Nasdaq Composite edged 0.5% higher. For the third quarter, the Dow and S&P 500 both gained 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%.
Investors continued to monitor U.S.-China trade developments after rumors circulated Friday that the U.S. was contemplating delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges. The rumors were later refuted, however, with market participants now awaiting in-person negotiations between the two sides on October 10th.
Nine of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in positive territory. Technology shares paced gains, advancing more than 1%. Apple jumped 2.4% on the heels of an analyst price target increase. The Energy group lagged as WTI crude dropped 3.3% to $54.07/barrel, capping a 7.5% quarterly decline amid weak economic data from China. Financial stocks also underperformed.
On the data front, the MNI Chicago PMI release revealed business activity in the region slipped into contractionary territory in September. Separately, the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity index came in above consensus estimates this month, but still below August’s reading. Treasuries were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year note down one basis point to 1.67%. In the metals complex, COMEX gold slid 1.7% to $1,473.30/ounce amid a stronger dollar.