Wall St. drops on surprise Mexico tariff threat

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S. May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks dropped on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track for its first monthly drop of the year after President Donald Trump’s surprise threat of tariffs on Mexico fueled fears increasing trade wars could lead to a recession.

Washington will impose a 5% tariff from June 10, which would then rise steadily to 25% until illegal immigration across the southern border was stopped, Trump tweeted late on Thursday.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador responded by urging his U.S. counterpart to back down.

“Mexico would probably like to work something out but I don’t think they even know what to work out,” said Tim Ghriskey, Chief Investment Strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“It’s impossible to handicap Trump because something can come out of left field like this and something can go away just as quickly.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 315.97 points, or 1.26%, to 24,853.91, the S&P 500 lost 33.82 points, or 1.21%, to 2,755.04 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 97.59 points, or 1.29%, to 7,470.12.

Wall Street’s main indexes are down more than 6% in May, as investors have become increasingly worried about deteriorating trade talks between the U.S. and China trade war and have sought safety in government bonds. Technology and energy have been among the hardest hit sectors since May 3 as Trump ramped up tariff threats with Beijing.

U.S. Treasury yields fell to new multi-month lows. Benchmark 10-year yields dropped as low as 2.145 percent, the lowest since September 2017.

The yield curve, as measured in the gap between three-month and 10-year bond yields, remained deeply inverted. An inversion in the yield curve is seen by some as an indicator that a recession is likely in one to two years.

Of the 11 major S&P sectors, only defensive plays utilities and real estate were the two on the plus side while eight were showing drops of more than 1%.

U.S. carmakers and manufacturers were among the worst hit. General Motors Co dropped 4.16% and Ford Motor Co 2.67%, pushing the consumer discretionary sector 1.43% lower.

Adding to the downbeat mood was Beijing’s warning on Friday that it would unveil an unprecedented hit-list of “unreliable” foreign firms, as a slate of retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. goods was set to kick in at midnight. Tariff-sensitive industrials declined 1.36%.

Data showed U.S. consumer prices increased by the most in 15 months in April, but a cooling in spending pointed to a slowdown in economic growth that could keep inflation pressures moderate.

The report from the Commerce Department supported the Federal Reserve’s contention that recent low inflation readings were transitory.

Among other stocks, Gap Inc tumbled 10.75%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after the apparel retailer cut its 2019 profit forecast.

Constellation Brands, which has substantial brewery operations in Mexico, slid 6.50%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.52-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.20-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 4 new 52-week highs and 52 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 210 new lows.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Wall Street enters third day of gains as trade fears ease

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with bank stocks leading third day of gains in a row after strong U.S. jobs data from last week helped investors brush aside trade concerns.

The S&P financial index rose 1.3 percent, providing the biggest boost to the main S&P index. But gains were widespread, with technology, energy, industrials, consumer discretionary and healthcare stocks rising.

The United States and China engaged in tit-for-tat tariffs on Friday, both countries imposing duties worth $34 billion on each others’ goods. But the benchmark S&P 500 closed up 0.84 percent on Friday as many analysts said the move was already priced in, but warned that further escalation could dent the appetite for stocks.

China’s securities regulator said on Sunday it plans to ease restrictions on foreign investment in stocks listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen exchanges to attract more foreign capital and support the economy.

The sentiment was largely upbeat after Friday’s U.S. payrolls report showed tame wages and more people looking for work, boosting optimism that the Federal Reserve would stay on a path of gradual interest rate increases.

“Last Friday’s gains managed to put a positive patina on what was otherwise a rather unimpressive week for equity investors,” Peter Kenney, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group in New York, wrote in a note.

“That tone could serve investors well this week as we launch into Q2 earnings season.”

At 9:49 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 193.11 points, or 0.79 percent, at 24,649.59, the S&P 500 was up 15.33 points, or 0.56 percent, at 2,775.15 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 46.97 points, or 0.61 percent, at 7,735.36.

All eyes will turn to second-quarter earnings reports, with banks JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup scheduled to report on Friday.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report 21 percent growth in earnings per share for the June quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. But focus will be on any warnings companies might give about the impact of trade tariffs.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese companies Alibaba, JD.com and Baidu climbed after KeyBanc recommendations on the stocks.

Tesla was up 1.6 percent after automotive news website Electrek reported the company hiked prices of its Model X and S cars by over $20,000 in China due to tariffs.

Groupon jumped 8.8 percent after a Recode report that the daily deals website operator was looking for a buyer.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.53-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.16-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 97 new highs and six new lows.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

U.S. Stock Markets Bounce Wall Street recovers after historic falls

A trader reacts on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., February 6, 2018.

By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) – U.S. stock markets bounced after a torrid opening on Tuesday, bargain-hunters and gains for Apple pushing the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average into positive territory after two days of heavy losses.

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow sank more than 4 percent on Monday, their biggest falls since August 2011, as concerns over rising U.S. interest rates and government bond yields hit record-high valuations of stocks.

New York’s three main indexes sank as much as 2 percent on the opening bell but they quickly moved back into positive territory.

An almost 2 percent gain for Apple was at the heart of an almost half percent gain for the Nasdaq Composite.

“Daily drops of 3 percent or more have been buying opportunities for the S&P 500 post financial crisis,” said Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

At 9:49 a.m. ET (1449 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.25 percent to 24,406.14. The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,654.25 and the Nasdaq 0.4 percent to 6,993.47.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Patrick Graham)

Wall Street kicks off 2018 on a strong note

The trading floor is seen on the final day of trading for the year at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 29, 2017

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were higher on Tuesday, the first trading day of the year, buoyed by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks.

Major stock indexes closed out 2017 with their best performance since 2013, powered by a combination of strong economic growth, solid corporate earnings, low interest rates and hopes of corporate tax cuts.

“The first week of trading usually suggests the overall trend of the markets which we expect to be positive,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York, wrote in a note.

Oil prices hovered near their mid-2015 highs on Tuesday amid large anti-government rallies in major exporter Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia.

Gold and copper prices continued their upward march, but the greenback began the year on the back foot, with the dollar index slipping to its weakest level since September.

“While we don’t expect the Iranian unrest to reach a full blown political situation just yet, the protest will add to an already positive uptrend in oil and gold prices,” Cardillo said.

December payrolls report, data on manufacturing and service sectors are among leading indicators expected during the week, and will be scrutinized for signs of improving economic health and the number of interest rate hikes this year.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting, when the central bank raised rates for the fourth time since the 2008 financial crisis, will be issued on Wednesday.

At 9:34 a.m. ET (1434 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 112.06 points, or 0.45 percent, at 24,831.28 and the S&P 500 was up 9.49 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,683.1. The Nasdaq Composite was up 21.51 points, or 0.31 percent, at 6,924.90.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks.

Shares of Walt Disney rose 1.6 percent, giving the biggest boost to the Dow, after brokerage Macquire upgraded the company’s stock to “outperform”.

Netflix and Discovery Communications also rose on positive recommendations from Macquire.

Shares of casino operators Wynn resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts Entertainment were down after a report showed lower-than-expected rise in Macau gambling revenue in December.

Abbott Labs jumped 2.6 percent after JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley upgraded the healthcare company’s stock to “overweight”.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,938 to 652. On the Nasdaq, 1,678 issues rose and 743 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

Wall Street opens lower amid Russia probe, Fed pick

Morning commuters are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, July 30, 2012.

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – Wall Street opened lower on Monday, pulling back from a strong rally last week, as investors assessed the fallout of the first charges in connection with a probe into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for Trump, surrendered to federal authorities in connection with the investigation, according to reports.

“The market could be awakening to the fact that the political situation is coming back into focus … that could cap the market from moving higher,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

The ongoing investigation and its outcome could distract the administration from its efforts to overhaul the tax system and push through other policies, analysts have said.

Investors also awaited the announcement on the nomination of the new Federal Reserve chief, expected later this week. Trump is leaning toward nominating Fed Governor Jerome Powell, considered a moderate, to be the next Fed chair, sources told Reuters.

“This is a very heavy week in terms of macro news. While earnings continue to pour in, majority of the market is now going to focus on the Fed,” Cardillo said.

A Commerce Department report showed consumer spending recorded its biggest increase in more than eight years in September, but underlying inflation remained muted.

With the third-quarter earnings season more than half-way through, nearly 74 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have topped profit expectations, compared with 72 percent overall the past four quarters.

Blockbuster tech earnings last week powered Nasdaq to its best day in nearly a year. Apple and Facebook are among the top tech companies reporting this week.

At 9:55 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 40.68 points, or 0.17 percent, at 23,393.51, and the S&P 500 was down 3.61 points, or 0.139864 percent, at 2,577.46.

The Nasdaq Composite, however, was up 13.63 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,714.89, helped by Apple and Facebook.

Apple rose 1.8 percent as GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives raised his pre-order demand expectations for the iPhone X to 50 million units from 40 million.

Seven of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by losses in healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks.

General Motors dipped 3.7 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company’s stock to “sell” from “neutral”.

Merck slipped 5.2 percent after the company said it withdrew an application for European use of its Keytruda cancer immunotherapy.

Advanced Micro Devices fell 4.8 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “underweight” from “equalweight”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,417 to 1,226. On the Nasdaq, 1,424 issues fell and 1,071 advanced.

 

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

 

Dow tops 23,000-mark for the first time on strong earnings

Dow tops 23,000-mark for the first time on strong earnings

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – The Dow Jones Industrial Average breached the 23,000-mark for the first time on Tuesday, powered by strong earnings from UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson.

The blue-chip index has surpassed four similar 1,000-point milestones this year, indicating investor faith in the bull-run despite lofty stock valuations.

The broader market, however, was weighed down by losses in industrial, financial and technology stocks.

Shares of the largest U.S. health insurer <UNH.N> touched a life high, rising as much as 5.83 percent, after the company reported a stronger-than-expected profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

That, along with a 2.6 percent rise in Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N>, led a 1 percent gain in the S&P healthcare sector <.SPXHC>.

Goldman Sachs <GS.N> dipped 2.07 percent despite reporting a profit beat and smaller-than-expected trading revenue fall. Morgan Stanley <MS.N> rose 0.92 percent as its wealth management business insulated the bank from weakness in trading revenue.

“There was some good earnings, real good economic data in spite of the hurricanes,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

“We’re not seeing a market that’s galloping along here. The market from a technical perspective is tired. What you’re seeing is some hesitancy but not any major declines.”

Treasury yields and dollar gained after a report that U.S. President Donald Trump was impressed by his meeting with economist John Taylor, who is considered to favor higher interest rates than current Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The equity market, however, was not impacted by a report that Trump is likely to announce his choice before going to Asia in early November.

At 12:33 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 1.1 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,556.54 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 2.98 points, or 0.05 percent, at 6,621.02.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was up 19.47 points, or 0.08 percent, at 22,976.43, after briefly hitting the 23,000 mark, when only eight of its 30 components were making gains.

Nine of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by a 0.42 percent drop in industrials <.SPLRCI> index.

General Electric’s <GE.N> 1.15 percent fall led losses in the industrial sector, while drop in shares of Microsoft <MSFT.O> and Intel <INTC.O> weighed on the tech sector.

Netflix <NFLX.O> slipped 1.15 percent after touching a record high as more subscribers signed up for its popular original content in the latest quarter.

(ht Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Wall Street at new record highs as tech, auto advance

A trader works inside a stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Ankur Banerjee and Gayathree Ganesan

(Reuters) – All the three main U.S. stock indexes hit fresh record highs on Tuesday, buoyed by a rally in tech stocks and gains in Ford Motor <F.N> and General Motors <GM.N> after the carmakers reported strong September sales.

Seven of the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, led by technology <.SPLRCT> and consumer discretionary <.SPLRCD> sectors.

Major automakers posted higher U.S. new vehicle sales in September, as consumers in hurricane-hit parts of the country rushed to replace flood-damaged cars.

However, the market traded in a narrow range as investors awaited upcoming quarterly earnings from big names to help justify the lofty valuations.

Third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to increase 5.5 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters research, after rising a better-than-expected 12.3 percent in the second quarter.

“Tech has been in leadership for the first nine months of this year,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

The sector is stabilizing as seasonal rotation ends and investors are looking at the stocks as opportunities now, he said.

The markets have been scaling new highs and on Monday found support from factory data that pointed to underlying strength in the U.S. economy.

The encouraging data helped world shares touch their latest record highs on Tuesday, while lifting the dollar to its loftiest in 1-1/2 months.

“The first two days of October seem to be a continuation of what happened in the last two weeks of September … we’re gradually grinding higher in the month of October,” said Hogan.

At 11:07 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was up 61.05 points, or 0.27 percent, at 22,618.65, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 0.97 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,530.09.

The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was up 3.25 points, or 0.05 percent, at 6,519.97.

General Motors’ shares rose 3.7 percent to a record high of $43.32 in morning trading, while Ford’s stock was up 2.05 percent at $12.34.

But rival Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> was down 2 percent after the luxury electric vehicle maker said its planned ramp-up for the new Model 3 mass-market sedan faced production bottlenecks.

Lennar Corp’s <LEN.N> shares rose about 3 percent following a higher-than-expected quarterly profit from the No.2 U.S. homebuilder.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,455 to 1,286. On the Nasdaq, 1,368 issues rose and 1,358 fell.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

Wall Street falls more than 1 percent on rising North Korea worries

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – The three major Wall Street indexes fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday and were on track to mark their worst single-day fall in nearly three weeks, weighed down by mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea on Sunday conducted its sixth nuclear test, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, marking a dramatic escalation of the regime’s stand-off with the United States and its allies.

South Korea’s Asia Business Daily, citing an unidentified source, reported that North Korea had moved what looked like an intercontinental ballistic missile towards its west coast, possibly in preparation for a launch.”It looks as though escalation has gone to the next level, but there are lot of things in the coming weeks that may be causing people to get a little bit more cautious,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

Wall Street may face a rough ride in September, typically the worst month for stocks, if there is a showdown in Washington over the U.S. budget and the federal debt ceiling.

The CBOE Volatility index <.VIX>, Wall Street’s fear gauge rose 3.26 points to 13.39 and was on track to close higher for the first time in four days.At 12:41 p.m. ET (1641 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was down 239.61 points, or 1.09 percent, at 21,747.95 and the S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 24.8 points, or 1 percent, at 2,451.75. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 85.79 points, or 1.33 percent, at 6,349.54.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. Financial stocks <.SPSY> were the worst hit, putting them on track for their biggest one-day fall since mid-May, after an influential Federal Reserve policymaker struck a dovish tone on interest rates.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard said U.S. inflation is falling “well short” of target so the central bank should be cautious about raising interest rates any further until it is confident that prices are headed higher.

Goldman Sachs’ <GS.N> fell 3.3 percent, dragging down the Dow; while the S&P was pulled lower by a more than 2 percent fall in shares of JPMorgan <JPM.N> and Bank of America <BAC.N>.

Shares of United Technologies <UTX.N> were down 4.49 percent after Boeing <BA.N> said on Tuesday it would look closely at United’s $23 billion buy of Rockwell Collins <COL.N>. Boeing was down 1.2 percent and Rockwell inched up 0.5 percent.

Insmed <INSM.O> shares more than doubled after the company said its drug for the treatment of a rare and serious lung disorder met the main goal in a late-stage study.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,132 to 722. On the Nasdaq, 2,053 issues fell and 812 advanced.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

World stocks reach new peak in world full of surprises

Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, August 4, 2017.

By John Geddie

LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks breached record highs on Monday as better-than-expected company earnings and economic data from the United States stole the focus from rising geopolitical tension over North Korea’s nuclear program.

The U.S. dollar  dipped slightly but held on to most of Friday’s gains – its biggest daily rise this year – made after data showed the United States created more jobs than forecast last month.

For those watching second quarter corporate results in recent weeks, there have been many such surprises. Of the nearly 1000 companies in the MSCI world index that have reported, 67 percent have beaten expectations, according to Reuters data.

These two factors helped nudge the flagship share index above a peak breached late last month, setting a new all-time high of 480.09 on Monday.

The Dow Jones, which recorded its eighth consecutive record high on Friday, was set to open up slightly on Monday.

“Global equities remain the preferred asset class for investors and this can be clearly seen in the new highs hit by world indices today,” said Edward Park, investment director at Brooks Macdonald.

“Whilst the headline beat in non-farm payrolls was the primary positive for the market … equity prices are supported by a strong earnings season and relatively low event risk over the next few months.”

Aside from a slight weakening in the Korean won, there was little financial market reaction to the news over the weekend that the U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, agreed in a telephone call on Monday to apply maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea, while China expressed hope that North and South Korea could resume contact soon.

Yields on U.S. and German government bonds – seen as a safe haven in times of stress – held above one-month lows hit at the tail end of last week.

 

ASIAN GAINS

A strong rise in U.S. and Asian stocks propelled the world index to a new high, with the strength of the euro providing a bit of a headache for European markets.

Earlier in Asian trading, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.5 percent while Japan’s Nikkei added 0.5 percent.

Chinese blue chips were bolstered by data showing the country’s foreign exchange reserves rose twice as much as expected in July.

A dramatic reduction in capital outflows – which are seen as one of China’s biggest risks – has helped boost confidence in the world’s second largest economy ahead of a key political leadership reshuffle in coming months.

The euro zone’s main stock index edged lower, however, as the single currency headed back towards 20-month high, a trend which appears to be denting profitability in certain sectors.

Of the MSCI Europe companies having reported, 61 percent have either met or beat expectations. But focusing on industrial firms – of which many depend on exports, and are sensitive to a stronger euro – the beat ratio is just 37 percent.

“The euro is likely to have an impact in the third quarter, with a 10 percent appreciation of the euro lowering earnings per share by around 5 percent,” said Valentin Bissat, senior strategist at Mirabaud Asset Management.

DOLLAR DOUBTS

The upbeat U.S. jobs data offers policymakers some assurance that inflation will gradually rise to the central bank’s 2 percent target, and likely clear the way for a plan to start shrinking its massive bond portfolio later this year.

But market pricing shows investors are still about evenly divided over whether the Fed will also opt to raise rates again in December.

For some analysts, Monday’s pull back in the dollar backs some views in markets that Friday’s rally may not have legs.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global peers, inched back 0.2 percent to 93.361. It rallied 0.76 percent on Friday, its biggest one-day gain this year.

The dollar slipped 0.2 percent against the euro to $1.1796 per euro, after surging 0.8 percent on Friday.

“The most logical view here is the moves on Friday were clearly just a sizeable covering of USD shorts, from what was one of the biggest net short positions held against the USD for many years,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

For the dollar rally to gain momentum, the market needs to change its interest rate pricing, Weston added.

In commodities, oil prices slid back from nine-week highs hit on Aug. 4 as worries lingered over high production from OPEC and the United States.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 60 cents, or 1.14 percent, at $51.82 a barrel. They traded as low as $51.56 a barrel earlier in the day.

Gold  steadied as the dollar surrendered some of its gains, but remained under pressure. The precious metal was marginally lower at $1,257.41 an ounce, extending Friday’s 0.8 percent loss.

 

(Reporting by John Geddie in London and Nichola Saminather in Singapore Additional reporting by Helen Reid in London; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

 

U.S. stocks open higher after strong private jobs data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan

By Sweta Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher on Thursday after better-than-expected private sector hiring showed that the labor market continues to strengthen, further boosting chances of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this month.

The ADP private sector employment report showed that 253,000 jobs were added in May, well above the 185,000 jobs estimated by economists polled by Reuters.

The report by payrolls processor ADP acts as a precursor to the much-awaited nonfarm payrolls data, due on Friday, that includes hiring in both the public and private sectors.

“I think the Fed has already made up its mind. Unless we have a real weak employment data tomorrow I think it’s a go-ahead for the Fed to raise rates in June,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said on Wednesday he sees a total of three interest rate increases for this year as his baseline scenario, but views four hikes as also being appropriate if the U.S. economy gets an unexpected boost.

Forecasts from Fed officials suggest that a median of two more hikes are planned before the end of the year.

Traders priced in an 89 percent chance of a rate hike in the upcoming Fed meeting on June 14, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 9:52 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 21.5 points, or 0.1 percent, at 21,030.15, the S&P 500 was up 6.16 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,417.96 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 26.51 points, or 0.43 percent, at 6,225.03.    Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the health and technology sectors leading the gainers.

The Institute for Supply Management is likely to report that its national manufacturing index slipped to 54.5 in May from 54.8 in April. The data is expected at 10:00 ET.

“We have a multitude of macro news coming out today and that will set the tone for the market’s direction … I think we are looking at another trying session,” Cardillo said.

Deere’s shares were up 1.9 percent at $124.74 after the farm and construction major said it would buy privately held German road construction company Wirtgen Group for $5.2 billion, including debt.

Goodyear Tire’s shares were up 5.7 percent at $34.03 after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to “overweight” from “underweight”.

Box Inc was up 3.9 percent at $19.40 after the cloud storage firm’s quarterly earnings edged ahead of Wall Street analysts’ expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,931 to 657. On the Nasdaq, 1,707 issues rose and 624 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Anil D’Silva)