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Stock Market Live Updates: Dow bounces on US-China trade hopes; ISM, IHS data show service sector growth

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4:01 p.m. ET: Stocks end higher on trade hopes

Here’s where the markets settled at the end of Wednesday’s regular equity trading:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.63%, or 19.56 points

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.53%, or 146.97 points

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.54%, or 46.03 points

  • 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): +6.2 bps to 1.771%

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.3% to $1,480.00 per ounce

2:08 p.m. ET: Senate introduces bill to limit exports of surveillance tech to China

Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Mark Warner introduced a bill that would place export controls on technologies to China that can be used in mass surveillance and detention, Bloomberg reports.

12:56 p.m. ET: Shopify gains after Cramer says companies interested in acquisition

Shares in Canadian e-commerce company Shopify (SHOP) rose as much as 7.5% after CNBC’s Jim Cramer said at least two companies are interested in acquiring Shopify, though that the company has no intention to sell, Bloomberg reports. The stock is up 6%.

11:45 a.m. ET: Instagram to start “carding” users...sort of

Instagram will require new users to start providing their birth dates, as part of an effort to refine its advertising and shield younger users from inappropriate content, according to Reuters. Until now, Instagram has mostly required its 1 billion users only to say they are at least 13 years old.

12:00 p.m. ET: Peloton “disappointed” by response to holiday ad

This week, Peloton’s well-intentioned holiday ad went viral for all the wrong reasons, and has since been getting the meme treatment online. The maker of high-end fitness equipment released a statement on Wednesday expressing disappointment with the backlash, but insisted that the company has received an “outpouring of support ... from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.”

Peloton’s (PTON) stock was off nearly 3% in midday trading, changing hands near $32.45

11:25 a.m. ET: ADP a bad sign for November jobs data?

The ADP private sector employment report showed a relatively slim 67,000 job gain last month, which was below expectations. According to Goldman Sachs, the broad weakness suggests “underlying weakness” that may be confirmed on Friday with the November payrolls report.

10:45 a.m. ET: S&P calls out the ‘weakest links’

FILE - This Oct. 9, 2011 file photo shows 55 Water Street, home of Standard & Poor's, in New York. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services upgraded its outlook Monday, June 10, 2013, for the U.S. government's long-term debt. S&P cited the government's strengthened finances, a recovering U.S. economy and some easing of Washington's political gridlock. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File)

Companies with questionable creditworthiness are on the rise, according to new data from S&P Global Ratings, which found the tally of “weakest links” grew to 266 in October from 263 in September — hitting its highest levels since November 2009.

In an analysis entitled "Media And Leisure Companies Lead A Rise In Weakest Links” the firm defines said companies as issuers rated 'B-' or lower with negative outlooks, or ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications.

According to S&P:

"For the first time since September 2015, the current global speculative-grade 12-month trailing media and leisure default rate, at 2.5%, is higher than the overall global speculative-grade 12-month trailing default rate, at 2.3%," said Sudeep Kesh, head of S&P Global Credit Markets Research.

10:00 a.m. ET: Stocks test session highs after ISM services data

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector expanded in November, with the ISM’s services index checking in at 53.9 percent, below the October reading of 54.7 percent but still a healthy clip. Stocks are hovering at the day’s highs after the number, bolstered by trade hopes. 

9:45 a.m. ET: Services sector shows rapid growth

The seasonally adjusted final IHS Markit US Services Business Activity Index rose to 51.6 in November, up from 50.6 in October.

The results were mixed and muted, but IHS-Markit noted that:

The expansion was only marginal and well below the long-run series trend. Nonetheless, the rate of growth accelerated to a four-month high which companies attributed to an uptick in client demand.

ISM respondents cited “ongoing global economic uncertainty” as a brake on expectations. Yet there were several green shoots in the report, including a boost in hiring for the first time since August. And as Capital Economics points out:

Overall, the latest batch of ISM surveys are clearly a disappointment, but on their own they won’t be enough to trigger a “material reassessment” of the Fed’s outlook for the economy. The upshot is that we still think further policy loosening is unlikely.

9:45 a.m. ET: Silicon Valley increasingly “founder free”

***FILE PHOTOS*** Larry Page and Sergey Brin step down as heads of Google. Google CEO Larry Page at a press annoucing that Google will allocate 22,000 square feet of its New York headquarters to Cornell NYC Tech University at Google headquarters in New York on May 21, 2012.. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch /IPX

With the noteworthy exceptions of Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB), major tech giants find themselves increasingly devoid of the services of the men who founded them.

Bloomberg points out that three of Silicon Valley’s most valuable brands no longer have a founder at the helm now that Larry Page has departed Alphabet (GOOG):

Sundar Pichai’s elevation to chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. means the three most valuable U.S. tech firms no longer have a founder at the helm.

...

The shift reflects Google’s accession into corporate middle age. Started in a California garage by Brin and Page in 1998, the firm had revenue of $137 billion in 2018 and today boasts a market value of $893 billion. That’s behind only Apple and Microsoft on the S&P 500 Index.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks rise on hopes of US-China trade breakthrough

Hope sprang eternal for investors, pushing stocks higher on Wednesday a day after Wall Street stumbled on worries about a delayed bilateral trade deal. Reports suggest the U.S. and China are still moving forward with a “Phase One” mini-deal, despite President Donald Trump’s suggestion on Tuesday that it could wait until 2020.

Here’s where major benchmarks began trading:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.34%, or 10.75 points

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.43%, or 119.56 points

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.41%, or 35.32 points

  • Crude (^CL=F): +3% to $57.82

  • 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): -0.039 to 1.747%

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.17% to $1,481.90 per ounce

Separately, Alphabet (GOOG) investors appeared to take the departures of the company’s founders in stride, with the stock rising nearly 2% in early trade. Late Tuesday, the tech giant surprised observers by announcing that Larry Page and Sergey Brin would leave the empire they created in the hands of CEO Sundar Pichai, who will now take the helm of both the parent company and the search giant.

9:15 a.m. ET: Expedia ousts CEO, CFO in surprise shake up

EXPEDIA logo, online travel agency, graphic element on gray

Online travel agency Expedia (EXPEannounced the exit of two of its top executives Wednesday in the latest high-profile C-suite reorganization of 2019. Both CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerill will step down effective immediately, the company said in a statement.

"Ultimately, senior management and the Board disagreed on strategy. Earlier this year, Expedia embarked on an ambitious reorganization plan with the goal of bringing our brands and technology together in a more efficient way,” said Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia, in a statement.

Andy Serwer on a decade of divisions.

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