Stocks rally as trade tensions ease
U.S. stocks closed higher on Monday, 03 December 2018 with the S&P 500 having its best start to December in eight years, after the U.S. and China over the weekend called a temporary truce to their trade war, triggering relief buying of perceived riskier assets such as equities. A trade standoff between the U.S. and China saw a breakthrough at the G-20 meeting in Argentina, a gathering that included a highly-anticipated dinner between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The two sides agreed to launch negotiations to reduce trade tensions and discuss forced technology transfer, intellectual-property protection, non-tariff barriers, and cyber and agriculture issues, among other concerns.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 287.97 points, or 1.1%, to 25,826.43. The S&P 500 climbed 30.20 points, or 1.1%, to 2,790.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 110.98 points, or 1.5%, to 7,441.51.
Moves for the assets come after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping approved a pact on Saturday at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, offering a 90-day pause of hostilities between Beijing and Washington, just as a planned increase in tariffs to 25% from 10% was scheduled for Jan. 1, on $200 billion in Chinese goods exports to the U.S.
The U.S. postponed plans to lift tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods and China agreeing to buy more U.S. goods. If those talks fail the U.S. will go ahead with increasing the tariffs to 25% from the current 10%.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.3% at 96.985. A weaker dollar typically boosts investment demand for dollar-priced commodities.
Monday's upbeat developments in trade talks lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index. However, weakness in the dollar appeared to overshadow that bearish factor.
Upbeat economic data on Monday restricted the further drop in metal prices. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index snapped back in November to 59.3% from a five-month low of 57.7% in October. Markit released the latest results from its poll of manufacturers, issuing a reading of 55.3, just below the consensus estimate of 55.4. A reading of at least 50 indicates improving conditions.
At the same time, construction spending in October was 0.1% lower than in September which was weaker than expectations for a 0.3% rise from September.
Bullion prices ended higher at Comex, 03 December 2018 at Comex. Gold futures on Monday climbed to their highest finish in a month, as a cease-fire in the trade skirmish between the U.S. and China weakened the dollar, which has been the de facto haven amid tariff conflagrations between the world's largest economies.
Gold for February delivery climbed $13.60, or 1.1%, to settle at $1,239.60 an ounce, for the contract's highest settlement since 1 November 2018. Prices registered a weekly fall of nearly 0.3% on Friday. Meanwhile, March silver added 28.2 cents, or 2%, at $14.499 an ounce, after settling Friday with a weekly decline of 1%.
Crude oil prices settled with a 4% gain on Monday, 03 December 2018 as optimism ahead of an OPEC meeting grew after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman agreed to extend output cuts on the sidelines of the weekend G-20 summit. Also boosting crude, Canada's oil-rich Alberta province announced surprise output curbs. Meanwhile news that U.S. and China agreed steps to thawing of trade tensions was lifting perceived riskier assets across the board.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery surged by $2.02, or 4%, to settle at $52.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose about last 1% last week, but for the month of November tumbled 22%, the biggest monthly fall since October 2008, amid concerns about a global crude glut.
Separately, U.S. Treasuries had a much better day than many participants might have expected in the face of some optimism in the stock market. The 2-yr yield added one basis point to 2.82%, and the 10-yr yield lost two basis points to 2.99%.
Looking ahead, investors will receive Auto and Truck Sales for November throughout the day.
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