Stocks finished higher as positive trade updates and perceived “dovish” Federal Reserve comments boosted investor sentiment. The Dow added 181 points, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5%.
Trade negotiations continued to garner attention as a report late Thursday afternoon indicated that the United States is considering a potential delay on the proposed tariffs on Mexico. A separate announcement from President Trump suggested the U.S. could implement tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. However, he also commented that he believes China wants to finalize a trade pact.
On the data front, initial jobless claims came in at 218,000 in the most recent week, matching the prior period’s upwardly revised figure. A separate release revealed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $50.8 billion in April from the prior month’s downwardly revised $51.9 billion shortfall. Treasuries finished mixed, with the yield on the 10-year note unchanged at 2.13%.
The Energy sector paced the gains as oil prices climbed out of bear market territory. WTI crude advanced 3.0% to $53.21/barrel, in conjunction with the optimistic trade comments. Technology shares also outperformed as Advanced Micro Devices jumped 7.9% to $31.82 following an analyst upgrade. In M&A news, Alphabet agreed to purchase Looker, a cloud computing company, for $2.6 billion in an attempt to increase its competitive edge against industry leader Amazon Web Services.
Breadth was positive on issues by 3:2 on the NYSE and negative on issues by 8:7 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume totaled more than 3.3 billion shares.