Nation & World

Dow surges, global markets rally on investor optimism following US-China trade truce

American flags fly outside of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle
American flags fly outside of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle

Global markets were lifted Monday by investor confidence over the announced 90-day trade truce between the United States and China.

The Dow Jones industrial average opened with a big boost, surging 425 points, or 1.6 percent, on the news that President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will let the trade war cool for a few months as they try to negotiate an agreement. It closed the day up 287 points, or 1.1 percent, to hit 25,826.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 1.5 percent, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was up 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq is out of correction, and U.S. stocks are up in four of the past five days.

Boeing, Nike, Apple and Caterpillar were leading the Dow trades. Wynn Resorts, Nvidia and Amazon.com were among the top Nasdaq performers

“The market basically received a stay of execution with a 90-day cease fire,” said Sam Stovall, investment strategist at CFRA. “There still is an opportunity to salvage global economic growth.”

Asian markets stormed upward on the trade war timeout. The Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite were both up more than 2.5 percent Monday. The Japanese Nikkei 225 increased 1 percent. Europe was up across the board, with all major indexes increasing at least 1 percent.

Companies among those to stand to gain the most from trade peace, aerospace giant Boeing and farm equipment maker Deere, were up 6 percent and 5.6 percent respectively

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Monday’s strong open is the second half of a one-two market boost that started last week when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a speech last Wednesday indicated he may moderate the increase interest rate hikes.

Powell said rates are “just below” neutral, which investors took as a sign that he may not aggressively raise rates next year. Markets loved it. The S & P 500 had its best week in seven years.

Markets had recovered from a two-month slide by Monday, making up lost ground and putting all three U.S. indices in positive territory for 2018. The S & P was up 4.8 percent last week, the Dow ascended 5.2 percent and the Nasdaq rocketed 6.5 percent.

Interest rates are still expected to increase in December, but Wall Street took comfort from Powell’s wording that the Fed may take the pressure of the gas pedal in 2019.

Many investors have been worried about 2019, which would mark a full-decade of a bull market.

“Financial markets will face tough sledding early next year in an environment of slowing global growth and sharply decelerating U.S. earnings growth,” said Edward Campbell, portfolio manager at QMA.

Campbell and others cautioned that an end-of-year so-called Christmas rally may not last much into the new year.

“While this relief may last through year end, investors will need to re-evaluate tariffs and other issues such as earnings growth and interest rates early next year,” said Wayne Wicker of Vantagepoint Investment Advisors.

The market upswing will take a breather on Wednesday. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will be suspended all day Wednesday as part of President Trump’s declaration of a national day of mourning in honor of President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at age 94.

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Oil prices were moving up on Monday, with benchmark Brent Crude and U.S. West Texas Intermediate both climbing more than 4 percent on international markets.

Oil has been in a steep slump over the past two months because of oversupply. Both Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two biggest producers in the world after the U.S., indicated cuts in production in 2019 as they head toward this week’s Vienna meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oil companies took off on the news, with Exxon up more than 2 percent and Chevron gaining 1.6 percent. Those spurts were also aided by the premier of Alberta, who ordered producers in the oil-rich Canadian province to reduce production by about 325,000 barrels per day, nearly 9 percent, starting in January to ease the crisis in low oil prices.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on CNBC Monday added to the positive vibe coming out of the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires.

“This is the first time that we have a commitment from them that this will be a real agreement,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “I’m very hopeful we can turn this into a real agreement.”

Mnuchin said there is a clear goal to work on while the cease fire stays in effect.

“We absolutely need to have something concrete over these 90 days,” he told CNBC. “There was a very significant commitment from both leaders on what needs to be done over the 90 days and instructions to both teams to negotiate and turn this into a real agreement with specific action items, deliverables and time frames.”

Trump tweeted his optimism over a potential cooling of the trade war on Monday:

“President Xi and I have a very strong and personal relationship. He and I are the only two people that can bring about massive and very positive change, on trade and far beyond, between our two great Nations. A solution for North Korea is a great thing for China and ALL!”

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