Stocks ended Thursday higher as optimism on the trade front and monetary policy boosted investor sentiment. The Dow rose 45 points and the S&P 500 added 0.3% to put both indexes within 1% of their record highs. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3%.
Signs pointing to de-escalation on the trade front helped lift the major averages after President Trump announced a two-week delay on a 5% tariff increase of Chinese imports. In response, China made its largest purchase of soybeans since June. Beijing is also considering allowing its domestic companies to resume purchasing American farm goods. The European Central Bank policy decision garnered investors’ attention after cutting its deposit rate by 10 basis point as expected and announced a new bond buying program. The monetary easing comes ahead the Federal Reserve meeting next week.
On the data front, the core CPI number (ex-food and energy) rose 0.3% in August. The annualized figure climbed 2.4%, accelerating more than forecasted to a one-year high. Separately, initial jobless claims fell to a five-month low of 204,000. Treasuries weakened with the yield on the 10-year note up four basis points to 1.78%. In commodities, WTI crude slumped 1.3% to $55.05/barrel. COMEX gold rose 0.2% to $1,500.10/ounce
In corporate news, Oracle slipped 4.3% after revealing earnings were in-line with Wall Street’s projections and revenue missed estimates. The software company also announced its co-CEO would be taking a leave of absence for health reasons. Shares of AT&T lost 0.9% after providing an update on lower third-quarter wireless equipment revenues.