S&P Inches Higher in Trading as Drop in Oil Prices Hits Energy Stocks

The S&P 500 edged higher in choppy trading on Tuesday as a bruised technology sector recovered and industrial stocks gained on hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal, but losses in Boeing Co (BA.N) and tumbling energy stocks limited gains on the Dow.

The S&P technology index .SPLRCT gained 0.7 percent, but shares of Apple edged 0.1 percent lower following a 5 percent slump on Monday.

Goldman Sachs cut the iPhone maker’s earnings estimates after several suppliers to Apple warned of an earnings hit, signaling softening demand for its phones.

Investors largely took heart from signs of progress in trade talks with China, after the Trump administration’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Washington was talking again with Beijing on trade, calling it a “very positive” development.

China President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump plan to meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina at the end of November, and investors are hoping for a positive outcome after both countries slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods, roiling financial markets since the start of the year.

“The market will certainly welcome a trade deal at the end of the month and it has not shown much of that being priced in at this point,” said Matthew Miskin, market strategist at John Hancock Investments in Boston.

The trade-sensitive industrial sector .SPLRCI rose 1.3 percent, the most among the major S&P sectors followed by a 1 percent gain for the financial sector .SPSY.

That was offset by losses in the energy index .SPNY which fell 1.4 percent as oil prices plunged more than 5 percent due to ongoing worries about weakening global demand and oversupply. [O/R]

“You start to get concerns that energy companies and their debt could be at risk, but on the bright side, lower gas prices could mean consumers have more money to spend at stores heading into the holiday season,” added Miskin.

At 1:07 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 16.40 points, or 0.06 percent, at 25,370.78, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 8.17 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,734.39 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 43.91 points, or 0.61 percent, at 7,244.78.

The Dow was weighed down by shares of Boeing Co (BA.N), which fell 1.7 percent on concerns related to last month’s deadly crash of a 737 MAX, the newest version of the jet, operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air.

Home Depot Inc (HD.N) fell 0.5 percent after the home improvement chain signaled a slowing U.S. housing market and said impending tariffs could raise prices and weigh on demand.

General Electric Co shares (GE.N) rallied more than 10 percent after the conglomerate unveiled a plan to raise about $4 billion by accelerating a proposed stake sale in oilfield services provider Baker Hughes (BHGE.N).

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.54-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.79-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded seven new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 106 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Source: Reuters