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Stocks close in on record highs as earnings, trade provide boost

Jonathan Garber

U.S. stocks rallied Monday as the major averages set their sights on all-time highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 57 points, or 0.2 percent. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 finished with gains of 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

All three of the major indexes closed within two percentage points of their record peaks.

Markets got a small lift ahead of the open after top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said it's possible China could avoid the new tariffs that are set to go into effect in December.

“We've made a lot of progress," Kudlow said. "I think we're very close on opening financial services and the currency stability deal, which is essentially is an IMF deal. I think the agriculture, they started buying farm products, as you know, $40 [billion] to $50 billion worth.”


"If the talks go well on phase one, there is a chance we can get those December tariffs off,” he added.

Kudlow’s comments came after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Saturday that the two sides have made "substantial progress" in trade talks.

Drugmakers were in focus after reaching an opioid-litigation settlement. McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen were all lower while Teva Pharmaceuticals gained. Details of the agreement have not yet been announced. Walgreens is set to continue on as the lone defendant in the trial.

Boeing shares were a drag on the Dow after the planemaker said the day prior it understood the concerns surrounding Friday’s report that it knew about potential software problems two years before the two deadly crashes. Shares fell 6.79 percent on Friday.

Peloton Interactive, the home-exercise company known for its high-end fitness bikes, fell after shares received a “buy” rating from several Wall Street firms.

On the earnings front, oilfield-services provider Haliburton posted in-line earnings and revenue that fell short of expectations as a slowdown in shale drilling weighed. The next two weeks will see the majority of S&P 500 companies report their quarterly results.

U.S. Treasurys were lower, with selling running the benchmark 10-year yield up 4.5 basis points at 1.792 percent.

In Europe, all of the major averages were higher with Germany’s DAX up 0.9 percent to pace the gains.


Markets across Asia closed fractionally higher. Japan’s Nikkei rallied 0.25 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.05 percent and 0.02 percent, respectively.

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