Stocks rose Wednesday and pushed passed earlier concerns over increasingly tense U.S.-China relations, which had sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into negative territory earlier in the session.
[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Thursday, May 28]
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday morning that the U.S. certified that Hong Kong was no longer political autonomous from China, following new national security measures from Beijing that would encroach on the region. Pompeo’s remarks carry major implications for Hong Kong’s previous special trading status with the U.S., and China has previously threatened to retaliate if the U.S. stepped in over Hong Kong.
A day earlier, Bloomberg reported that U.S. officials were considering sanctioning Chinese officials and entities enforcing the national security law.
These developments add to mounting tensions between the U.S. and China, with relations already strained as the past years’ trade war played out and the coronavirus pandemic that began in China spread across the world.
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives closed in on passing legislation already cleared by the Senate that would give authority to impose sanctions on Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Muslim minorities in China, in another move that could spark the ire of Chinese officials.
Meanwhile, more positive economic data showing stabilizations in U.S. consumer confidence and a rebound in the housing market April helped push stocks higher earlier this week. Wednesday’s weekly mortgage applications report showed mortgages for home purchases rose on a weekly basis for a sixth straight week, and to the highest level since mid-March.
Some analysts have struck a more cautious tone on the direction of the stock market in the very near-term, however, even as conditions improve off last month’s lows.
“While I do think we’re going to 30,000 [on the Dow] next year, and 40,000 by 2023, I don’t think this is the beginning of the run to new highs, right here,” Paul Schatz, president of Heritage Capital told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “I think we need some pause and digestion first.”
4:06 p.m. ET: Dow closes above 25,000 for the first time since March 10
Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:06 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +44.36 (+1.48%) to 3,036.13
Dow (^DJI): +553.16 (+2.21%) to 25,548.27
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +72.14 (+0.77%) to 9,412.36
Crude (CL=F): -$1.52 (-4.43%) to $32.83 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$6.20 (+0.36%) to $1,711.80 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.8 bps to yield 0.6800%
2:00 p.m. ET: Federal Reserve underscores virus-induced economic contraction across the U.S. in May Beige Book
The Federal Reserve highlighted economic activity that “declined in all Districts” and fell “sharply in most” amid the coronavirus pandemic, based on the central bank’s May Beige Book. The report, which captured observations on or before May 18, includes a summary of economic conditions across the regional Fed districts ahead of the next Fed meeting.
“Consumer spending fell further as mandated closures of retail establishments remained largely in place during most of the survey period,” according to the Beige Book. “Declines were especially severe in the leisure and hospitality sector, with very little activity at travel and tourism businesses.”
“Auto sales were substantially lower than a year ago, although several Districts noted recent improvement,” it added. “A majority of Districts reported sharp drops in manufacturing activity, and production was notably weak in auto, aerospace, and energy-related plants.”
1:13 p.m. ET: ‘April was the economic bottom’: strategist
The nadir of the virus-induced economic downturn took place is April, with data poised to at least stabilize off these lows, according to one strategist.
“I think we can say at least now looking backwards, April was the economic bottom,” David Nelson, chief strategist at Belpointe Asset Management, told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move Wednesday afternoon. “We were at a virtual standstill. Anything has to be better than where we were. And as you get economic activity, there’s this natural gravitation to what I would call deeper cyclical names, and that points you to industrials, financials and some of the others.”
12:04 p.m. ET: Stocks cut gains after Pompeo says Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 12:04 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +6.65 points (+0.22%) to 2,998.97
Dow (^DJI): +250.11 points (+1.00%) to 25,245.22
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -75.98 points (-0.81%) to 9,263.87
Crude (CL=F): -$1.58 (-4.6%) to $32.77 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$8.90 (-0.52%) to $1,696.70 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.2 bps to yield 0.677%
11:38 a.m. ET: Pompeo says Hong Kong ‘no long autonomous from China’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Hong Kong no longer maintained its autonomy, “given facts on the ground,” he said in a Twitter post Wednesday morning.
“Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997,” Pompeo said in a statement, according to multiple media reports. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”
Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 27, 2020
10:00 a.m. ET: Richmond Fed Manufacturing index recovers from record low in May
The Richmond Federal Reserve’s regional manufacturing index rose from a record low of -53 in April to a better than expected reading of -27 in May. Consensus economists expected the index, which tracks regional manufacturing activity, to hold lower at -40 for the month.
Still, May’s reading marked the lowest level since 2009.
“All three components — shipments, new orders and employment — were above their April readings but still in contractionary territory,” the Richmond Fed said in a statement. “The index for local business conditions was also negative, but contacts expected conditions to improve in the next six months.”
”Many survey participants reported decreases in employment and the average workweek in May,” it added. “However, the indexes for wages and the availability of workers with the necessary skills were both close to 0. Respondents expected to see increases in both wages and available skills in the coming months.”
9:32 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:32 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +28.5 points (+0.95%) to 3,020.27
Dow (^DJI): +321.08 points (+1.28%) to 25,316.19
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +21.46 points (+0.2%) to 9,358.59
Crude (CL=F): -$0.80 (-2.33%) to $33.55 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$18.50 (-1.08%) to $1,687.10 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.2 bps to yield 0.7%
7:27 a.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures add to gains
Here were the main moves in markets as of 7:27 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,026.75, up 32.35 points (+1.08%)
Dow futures (YM=F): 25,345.00, up 343 points (+1.37%)
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,451.25, up 44.75 points (+0.48%)
Crude (CL=F): -$0.48 (-1.4%) to $33.81 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$8.30 (-0.49%) to $1,697.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2 bps to yield 0.718%
7:27 a.m. ET Wednesday: Mortgages for home purchases rise for sixth straight week
An index tracking mortgage applications for home purchases rose 9% over last week for the week ending May 22, seasonally adjusted, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in its weekly report Wednesday. This marked the sixth straight advance for the index, and a jump of 54% since early April, when the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures were at their peak and led to a slu,p in housing market activity. The unadjusted index for purchases also rose 9% versus the same period last year.
“The home purchase market continued its path to recovery as various states reopen, leading to more buyers resuming their home search,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.
An index tracking refinances declined 0.2% from the previous week, but was still 176% higher from the same week a year ago. Taken together, the composite index tracking both refinances and purchases rose 2.7%, seasonally adjusted, from a week earlier.
6:05 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures open little changed
Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:05 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,992.25, down 2.25 points (-0.08%)
Dow futures (YM=F): 24,993.00, down 9 points (-0.04%)
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,407.25, up 0.75 points (+0.01%)