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Wall Street indexes ended trading tentatively ahead of G20 summit

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The main stock indexes in the US ended today’s trading session mixed in anticipation of the trade talks between the US and China during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

The broader index S&P 500 reported growth of 0.4% to 2,924.92 points on Thursday, driven by the financial sector, which rose by nearly 1%. Nasdaq Composite advanced by 0.7% to 7,967.76 points. However, the blue-chip index Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 10.24 points to 26,526.58 points after Boeing’s shares wiped out 2.9%.

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The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 2.41% to 15.82.

The main focus of the investors was the meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, expected to take place in Osaka on Saturday as part of the G20 summit. The markets closely monitor any signal of a possible resolution of the Sino-American trade war and reaching a trade agreement.

The US sanctions against Huawei have also influenced today’s trade. Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that several employees of the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies have collaborated on at least 10 research projects with the Chinese armed forces over the past decade, indicating closer ties with the military in the country.

Meanwhile, the US economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, the government confirmed on Thursday, but the export and inventory boost to activity masked weakness in domestic demand, some of which appears to have prevailed in the current quarter. Gross domestic product increased at a 3.1% annualized rate, also driven by strong defense spending, the government said in its third reading of the first-quarter GDP. That was unchanged from its estimate last month. The economy grew at a 2.2% pace in the October-December period.

The gross domestic income (GDI) was previously reported to have increased at a rate of 1.4% in the first quarter. The average of GDP and GDI, also referred to as gross domestic output and considered a better measure of economic activity, increased at a 2.1% rate in the January-March period, down from the 2.2% growth pace estimated last month.

Corporate stocks performance

The shares of Citigroup rose by 1.4%. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo added more than 1%, while J.P. Morgan Chase gained 0.3%. The growth in bank stocks comes shortly before the announcement of the results of the Federal Reserve stress tests.

The shares of the utility company ConAgra Foods rose by more than 10% after key lenders offered a 30 billion USD plan to pull the company out of bankruptcy and give it a new name.

The stocks of UnitedHealth gained 1.17%, leading the blue-chip healthcare stocks to the green.

Boeing slipped 2.59% today it was revealed in a regulatory filing that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found another issue with the 737 MAX passenger jet that must be resolved before those planes can fly again.

3M Co, another industrial name, traded modestly lower after the aforementioned CNBC revealed that the industrial conglomerate is the least liked Dow stock in the analyst community with a meager four “buy” ratings.

The stocks of ConAgra Foods collapsed by 12% after disappointing investors with lackluster results.

Shares of Aclaris Therapeutics Inc fell to all-time lows, declining by 52.13% after the company reported that one of its most important drug candidates, ATI-502, failed to meet primary and secondary endpoints in a phase 2 trial. The topical treatment was being studied in alopecia areata, also called male (or female) pattern baldness.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Pacific Gas & Electric Co (+10.13%), CenturyLink Inc (+6.78%) and L Brands Inc (+6.21%), while on the flipside were ConAgra Foods Inc (-12.13%), Patterson Companies Inc (-4.87%) and Boeing Co (-2.94%).

Corporate earnings reports

ConAgra is the latest big food company to disappoint investors with lackluster results. But the company is hoping to turn things around by investing more in plant-based proteins. For the quarter the company reported adjusted earnings per share of 0.36 USD versus 0.41 USD expected by the analysts. The sales for the reporting period were 2.61 billion USD, against estimates for 2.66 billion USD.

The sports equipment producer NIKE today reported financial results for its fiscal 2019 fourth quarter and full year ended May 31, 2019. The fourth quarter revenue increased to 10.2 billion USD, up by 4% on a reported basis and up 10% on a currency-neutral basis. Full-year revenue rose to 39.1 billion USD, up by 7% on a reported basis and up 11% on a currency-neutral basis, as strategic investments in innovation and digital drove global consumer demand led by NIKE Direct in both periods.