Stocks ended higher Wednesday on comments from President Trump that a U.S.-China trade deal could be finalized more quickly than expected. This followed his United Nations speech yesterday in which he was critical of China. The trade optimism overshadowed lingering political tensions surrounding the announcement on Tuesday of a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The S&P 500 snapped a three-day losing streak, rebounding 0.6%. The Dow climbed 162 points, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.1%.
On the data front, new home sales rebounded 7.1% in August, firmly exceeding estimates and rebounding from the prior month’s 8.6% drop. Separately, mortgage applications fell 10.1% in the most recent week amid a rise in interest rates. Treasuries weakened along the curve, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up nine basis points to 1.73%. In commodities, WTI crude slid 1.4% to $56.49/barrel after an industry report showed U.S. crude stockpiles posted a surprise increase during the latest week. COMEX gold lost 1.8% to $1,504.40/ounce amid a stronger dollar.
Nine of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory with Technology and Communication Services groups pacing the gains. Consumer Discretionary stocks also outperformed, with Nike gaining 4.2% after delivering a top and bottom line beat, supported by a significant increase in online sales. In other earnings, uniform supplier Cintas advanced 5.7% after raising its full-year guidance and topping analyst profit and revenue expectations. Elsewhere, Philip Morris climbed 5.2% while Altria dipped 0.4% on news that merger talks between the two tobacco giants have ceased.