U.S. stocks were mostly higher Friday, recovering after three consecutive session of losses. Comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored Beijing’s hopes of getting a trade deal done with the U.S.
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 11:46 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.05%, or 1.56 points
Dow (^DJI): +0.21%, or 59.54 points
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -0.08%, or 6.63 points
10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): -0.5 bps to 1.767%
Gold (GC=F): +0.08% to $1,464.80 per ounce
China’s Xi said Friday that he wants to come to a phase one agreement with the U.S. so long as any deal is on the “basis of mutual respect and equality,” according to a Bloomberg report. Xi made the comments during a meeting Friday with international visitors to Beijing including Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State.
Rhetoric over trade prospects from Chinese officials has picked up, helping to keep equities near record highs despite shallow pullbacks over the past couple of sessions. Xi’s remarks came after China’s top trade negotiator Liu He indicated in a speech Wednesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about achieving an interim trade deal with the U.S.
During an interview with Fox News Friday, President Donald Trump said the two sides were “very close” to finalizing a phase one trade agreement and have “a very good chance to make the deal.”
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Separately, euro area economic activity remained weak in November, according to IHS Markit’s latest purchasing managers’ indices. The institution’s flash composite PMI, which serves as a closely watched gauge of economic health, fell to 50.3, below expectations for 50.9 and October’s reading of 50.6. Readings above the neutral level of 50 indicate expansion.
The headline index marked the second-lowest output print since July 2013, driven by a third straight month in new orders for goods and services.
“Expectations about future output remained well below levels seen earlier in the year, reflecting heightened political uncertainty, including Brexit, trade wars and auto tariffs, plus general concerns about slowing demand,” IHS Markit said in a statement. “However, sentiment was nonetheless the best for four months, albeit by a small margin.”
ECONOMY: U.S. manufacturing, services sector activity picks up in November
U.S. business activity improved in both the manufacturing and service sectors in November, according to a report Friday from IHS Markit.
The U.S. flash manufacturing PMI rose to 52.2 for the month, above expectations for 51.4 and the month prior’s 51.3. Manufacturers saw the biggest rise in new orders since April, “with goods producers signaling a further recovery from the slowdown seen earlier in the year,” IHS Markit said in a statement.
The services PMI improved by one point from October to 51.6, ahead of expectations for a reading of just 51.0. The increase was driven by an uptick in new client demand and job creation, IHS Markit said.
Put together, the composite PMI for private sector output increased to 51.9 in November from 50.9 in October, marking a four-month high.
“A welcome upturn in the headline index from the flash PMI adds to evidence that the worst of the economy’s recent soft patch may be behind us,” Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement.
STOCKS: Tesla unveils the Cybertruck, Nordstrom results top expectations
Tesla (TSLA) unveiled its long-awaited electric pick-up truck, dubbed the “Cybertruck,” Thursday evening in Los Angeles. The vehicle will start at $39,900, in line with CEO Elon Musk’s previous remarks that the vehicle would be under $50,000. The Cybertruck will be able to accelerate from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds on the high end, Musk said, and towing capacity for its trimotor version will be around 14,000 pounds.
Tesla is taking orders on its website for the Cybertruck with a refundable $100 deposit, and suggested the lower-priced model would likely begin in late 2021. The higher-end trimotor version is set to begin production in 2022, Tesla said.
Gap (GPS) posted better than expected third-quarter adjusted earnings results after market close Wednesday. But the company continued to guide toward weak top-line performance, and Gap’s sales struggles had culminated in the departure of former CEO Art Peck earlier this month.
Third-quarter adjusted EPS came in at 53 cents, higher than 50 cents the Street expected, according to Bloomberg data. Overall comparable same-store sales declined 4%, with flagship Gap comps declining 7%, Banana Republic comps falling 3% and Old Navy comps dropping 4%. Gap guided toward a full-year comparable sales decline in the mid-single digits, after previously guiding toward just a low-single digit decline.
Interim CEO Robert Fisher said he is seeking to “aggressively” turn the retailer around and will move forward with the previously announced spinoff of Old Navy.
Nordstrom (JWN) posted better than expected third-quarter results, shrugging off concerns that had plagued peer department stores like Macy’s in the period heading into the holidays. While revenue dropped 2% over last year to $3.67 billion, this was higher than the Street’s expectation for $3.58 billion. Earnings were 81 cents a share, well above expectations for 63 cents.
In the third quarter, Nordstrom said it had fewer markdowns as “continued inventory discipline” in its off-priced product mix and “higher sell-through” for full-priced items boosted profitability. Nordstrom said it sees full-year EPS of between $3.30 to $3.50 a share, narrowing and raising the bottom end of its guidance from $3.25 seen before.
Foot Locker (FL) posted better than expected third-quarter earnings, marking a turnaround after failing to meet expectations in earlier quarters this year and lowering guidance in May.
Third-quarter comparable same-store sales jumped 5.7%, better than the 2.9% rise in the same quarter last year and the 4.8% increase anticipated by analysts. Adjusted EPS were $1.13, or five cents ahead of expectations. Foot Locker is likely to benefit from Nike’s (NKE) decision to stop selling its products through Amazon (AMZN), and the retailer’s stock had risen on Nov. 13 when the shoe-maker first made the announcement.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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