Wall Street ended the first trading day of March on a high note, led by investors’ hopes about a US-China trade pact.
US officials are said to be in the midst of preparing a trade pact to be signed by President Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping later this month, according to a Bloomberg report.
News of this advance came as the Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing in the US grew at its most sluggish pace since November of 2016.
The ISM Manufacturing index fell to 54.2 last month from 56.6 in January, the Institute for Supply Management said.
By the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had finished up 0.43% or 110.32 points to hit 26,026, lifted by Chevron Corp, Nike Inc and UnitedHealth Group.
The S&P 500 also finished up above the key 2,800 level for the first time since November, closing up 0.69% or 19 points at 2,803, led by its two top gainers Dentsply Sirona (NASDAQ:XRAY) and Gap (NYSE:GPS)
Gap shares surged 16.1% to $29.51 after the retailer opted to separate Old Navy into its own company. Dentsply Sirona shares added 17.6% to $49.13, meanwhile, after the dental product company swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $1.8 million, up from a loss of $650.4 million in the year-ago quarter
Elsewhere, the tech-laden Nasdaq added 0.83% or 62.82 points to 7,595,lifted by Mylan NV, JD.com and Hasbro.
Shares of Tesla(NASDAQ:TSLA)also dropped 7.84% to $294.74 after CEO Elon Musk reported that the electric car maker wouldn’t turn a profit in the first quarter and would shut the bulk of its retail stores while keeping the price of its Model 3 at $35,000.
Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) was a winner, meanwhile, adding 1.95% to hit $1,671.73 in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report saying the retailer is looking to launch its own grocery operation that will be cheaper than Whole Foods.
Small-caps also finished higher, with the Russell 2000 index jumping by 14 points to 1,589.
Up in Canada, Toronto’s TSX added 0.43%, or 69 points to reach 16,068, lifted by energy, financial and industrial stocks.
1:30 pm: Wall Street stays positive as investors look to US-China trade deal
Wall Street stayed in positive territory in afternoon trade as optimism about a US-China trade deal overshadowed the unveiling of weak US economic data.
At the time of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index added 0.27%, or 69.83 points to 25,985, led by Nike, Chevron, UnitedHealth Group and Walt Disney.
A 17.9% rise by the Gap Inc and a 17.3% jump from Dentsply Sirona Inc boosted the S&P 500, which climbed 0.46% or 12.72 points to 2,797.
Elsewhere, the tech-laden Nasdaq climbed 0.65% or 49.24 points to 7,581, led by JD.com, Mylan NV and Hasbro.
Small-cap stocks also moved slightly higher, with the Russell 2000 climbing by 0.57% or 9 points to 1,584.
Up in Canada, Toronto’s TSX pushed up by 0.56% or 89.76 points to 16,088, led by energy, financial and industrial stocks.
10:00 am: Wall Street opens higher amid decreasing trade tensions between the US and China
Wall Street opened higher Friday amid optimism for an improving Chinese economy, and decreasing trade tensions between the United States and China.
Bloomberg News reported that U.S. officials are getting a final trade deal ready for President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign around mid-March.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 96.32 points, or 0.37% to 26,012.32, led higher by UnitedHealth Group, Nike and Goldman Sachs.
The Nasdaq Composite index claw into the green and was hovering at 7,559.19, led higher by JD.com, Mylan NV, and MercadoLibre Inc.
Elsewhere, the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks was up 0.47% to 1,582.96.
7.15 am: Wall Street set for higher open on first day of new month; Asian and European indices up
US shares are poised to start the first day of the new month higher, taking the cue from Asian and European indices.
Traders await another round of US data but catalysts could be thin on the ground.
On Thursday, Wall Street shares closed lower as markets digested news that talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had broken down, which overshadowed US economic data that beat estimates.
Chinese shares hit the big time globally as index firm MSCI says it will boost mainland stocks’ weighting in its benchmarks https://t.co/Vi1vAYLTI1— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) 1 March 2019
The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 69 points at 25,916, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed almost 22 at 7,532. The S&P 500 finished nearly eight lower at 2,784.
But in February as a whole, US stocks made gains. In Toronto, the TSX shed around 75 at 15,999.
In futures today, the Dow Jones is ahead by 179 points; the Nasdaq is up 52.25 and the S&P 500 futures are up around 17.
Craig Erlam, analyst at Foreign exchange group Oanda in London said: "We’re on course for a more positive end to the week in otherwise quiet trade, with US futures around half a percentage point higher, mirroring gains currently being seen across Europe."
He added that it had been quite a mixed week in general with political stories dominating headlines, which haven’t really steered markets
"The US GDP data on Thursday was encouraging, although we saw it have limited positive impact on indices on Thursday so there’s no reason to think that’s offering support now. We’ll get another batch of data today which will be closely followed, including inflation, income, spending and PMIs. Perhaps they can provide us some good news to take into the weekend."
In Asia overnight, Japan's Nikkei 225 surged around 217 points at 21,602, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 53 points.
FTSE 100 at the time of writing is ahead by around 48 points at 7,123.