Stocks pared losses and ended mixed after a report from Reuters that a meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping could be pushed back until December.
Previously, the White House had said Trump and Xi would pursue signing a Phase One trade agreement by the end of November, even after a summit in Chile poised to set the stage for their meeting was canceled in late October.
Here’s where the markets settled Wednesday at the end of regular equity trading:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.07%, or 2.15 points
Dow (^DJI): -0.00%, or 0.07 points
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -0.29%, or 24.05 points
10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): -4.6 bps to 1.819%
Gold (GC=F): +0.6% to $1,492.60 per ounce
Earlier in the session, stocks had been little changed as global economic data and corporate earnings results came in mixed.
Overseas, activity in euro area economies expanded at a slightly less sluggish rate than expected, assuaging fears that a protracted slowdown in the currency area was intensifying. IHS Markit’s final October Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the eurozone rose to 50.6, up from the 50.2 expected and previously reported from the month, and up from September’s reading of 50.1.
In keeping with a trend seen both domestically and abroad, the euro area’s services sector outperformed against its manufacturing counterpart, helping keep the composite PMI above the neutral level of 50 to indicate expansion. Germany – the largest eurozone economy by GDP, and one that has recently taken a prominent hit amid a manufacturing slowdown and trade tensions – was the only country that had its individual composite PMI remain in contractionary territory for October.
“There remained a divergence between the manufacturing and service sectors during October,” IHS Markit said in a statement. “Whereas manufacturing firms recorded a ninth successive month of declining production, service sector companies indicated further growth, albeit at the second-weakest pace since January.”
The domestic economic data docket Wednesday remained relatively light.
Non-farm labor productivity unexpectedly declined by 0.3% in the third quarter, as output rose 2.1% and was outpaced by a 2.4% increase in hours worked. Consensus economists had expected non-farm productivity to increase by 0.9% during the third quarter, after an upwardly revised 2.5% gain in the second-quarter.
The results “aren’t a huge surprise given the recent weakness of business investment, with declines in both the second and third quarters meaning that the earlier wave of capital deepening has now gone into reverse,” Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note.
“Weak investment can in turn partly be blamed on trade uncertainty, in which case we could see a rebound if a deal with China is eventually agreed,” he added. “But it also reflects the fact that weaker demand is contributing to the re-emergence of spare capacity, reducing the need for firms to invest.”
Separately, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association reported Wednesday morning that mortgage applications edged lower by 0.1% for the week ending November 1, as Treasury yields fluctuated before dropping at the end of the week. Mortgage applications for home loan refinances – a category more sensitive to weekly shifts in rates – rose 2% during the week and more than doubled over last year.
STOCKS: CVS tops expectations as Aetna acquisition fuels sales
CVS (CVS) posted stronger-than-expected results on both the top- and bottom-lines, driven in large part by the Aetna health insurance business it bought last year. Revenue grew 37% over last year to $64.81 billion, coming in ahead of expectations for $63.01 billion, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.84 were better by 7 cents compared to consensus.
Comparable same-store sales increased 3.6%, or 30 basis points ahead of the Street’s expectations, and revenue in each of CVS’s pharmacy services, retail and health-care benefits segments outperformed. The company raised and narrowed its full-year adjusted EPS outlook for between $6.97 and $7.05 per share, from $6.49 to $7 previously.
Xerox (XRX) is considering a takeover bid for HP (HPE), which makes hardware including computers and printers, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter. Such an acquisition would reportedly take the form of a cash-and-stock offer, and would value HP at a premium to its market value of around $27 billion.
Walgreens (WBA) has considered going private and held talks with private equity firms to facilitate what would be the largest ever leveraged buyout, Reuters first reported Tuesday. The drug-store chain has a market value of $55 billion, meaning an LBO would likely require participation from multiple private equity firms and potential divesture of some of Walgreen’s assets in order to fund the deal.
Uber’s (UBER) post-IPO lockup period ends Wednesday, the first day that early investors and employees could sell their shares after the company’s May public offering. This could stir up additional volatility in the stock as billions of dollars worth of shares could potentially become available for trading for the first time. The end of the lockup period comes after Uber on Monday posted better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results for the third quarter and predicted it would be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis by 2021.
Shortly after market open, Uber shares fell to a record low of $25.58, down 43% from its IPO price of $45 per share.
Match Group (MTCH) posted estimates-topping third-quarter results Tuesday and grew subscribers by 19% to 9.6 million during the quarter. However, these were overshadowed after the dating app giant posted weak guidance amid ongoing legal battles, including a Federal Trade Commission investigation and legal dispute with Tinder’s founders over the app’s valuation. The company said fourth-quarter revenue would come in as high as $555 million, short of the $560 million the Street expected. Adjusted EBITDA guidance of between $205 million to $210 million also missed expectations.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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