Trading lower at the open as investors digested the intensified trade spat between the U.S. and China during the weekend, the S&P 500 index rebounded on registering the day’s low at 2835.98. Energy stocks gained steam on the back of rising oil prices and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s solid earnings boosted Financials stocks. Holding steady and trading in a very tight range after reaching the day’s high at 2853.29, the index closed near session highs at 2850.40 (last seen on January 26th, 2018), up 10.05 points and with a modest 0.35% gain over the previous session’s close.
With the second quarterly earnings season at its tail-end, the index closed higher for the third straight session as investors seem to have overcome trade jitters and maintained their focus on robust corporate results. Led by Consumer Discretionary and Technology stocks, nine out of the eleven primary sectors ended today’s session higher. The index is now 0.79% away from the all-time peak of 2872.87.
In an attempt to reassure investors spooked by intensifying trade tensions, Chinese state media released a statement during the weekend that the Trump administration’s trade policies are “ineffective extortion” and the country is now ready for a “protracted war” over trade. In his response, President Trump tweeted Sunday that his tariffs are “working big time”. Prices of trade-sensitive Commodities like copper and metal were sent lower on falling global demand concerns.
With a 0.67% gain, Consumer Discretionary was the best performing sector with several retailers and media companies rising on strong earnings. Dish Network Corp., MSM Resorts International and WYNN Resorts Ltd were the top gainers within the sector, up 5.85%, 2.80% and 2.52% respectively. Limiting gains was a sharp 14.34% fall in Newell Brands Inc. after the consumer goods company reported a weaker future guidance citing rising cost concerns due to the recent trade tariffs.
FANG stocks extended their last week’s gains, boosting the broader Technology sector by 0.59%. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. was among the top gainers, soaring 5.08% on introducing new second generation processors. Facebook Inc. also rose 4.45% on news that the social media company is in talks with several big banks to offer financial products to customers in a bid to increase user engagement.
Energy and Financials sectors led early session gains, ending higher by 0.34% and 0.43% respectively. Oil prices were led higher on reports of Saudi Arabia’s falling oil crude production. The Trump administration’s renewed sanctions on Iran in an attempt to curb Iran’s nuclear program, further pushed the oil prices higher. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. gained 2.91% to lead the broader Financials sector higher after reporting better-than-expected second quarterly results. Treasury yields settled relatively unchanged as investors keenly look forward to the release of critical economic data this week.
Defensive sectors Health Care, Industrials and Materials extended their last session gains, up 0.14%, 0.12% and 0.10% respectively. On the flip side, Real Estate and Telecommunication sectors were the only decliners in today’s session, down 0.24% and 0.09%.