U.S. stocks careened through another dizzying day after indexes shot to big early-morning gains only to give them all up and then yo-yo between gains and losses, and more in Tuesday’s Stock Market Update. The S&P 500 was up modestly by late-afternoon trading.
It’s the latest in a series of sharp turns in direction for the market, which has lurched up and mostly down since late September as investors recalibrate how worried they are about the global trade war, rising interest rates and a slowing economy.
The S&P 500 initially jumped more than 1 percent on optimism about U.S.-China trade talks. But falling bank stocks helped weigh on indexes in the afternoon, and President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t provide money to build a wall at the Mexican border. By mid-afternoon indexes were higher again.
STOCK MARKET UPDATE
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index finished steady for the day at 2,636, at closing time. It had been up as much as 1.4 percent in the morning and down as much as 0.6 percent in the afternoon.
Gains for companies that make everyday items for consumers balanced out losses for banks and industrial companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,370, and the Nasdaq composite rose 11, or 0.2 percent, to 7,031.
U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He have spoken by phone about “the promotion of the next economic and trade consultations,” a statement by China’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday.
That raised hopes in the morning that the two countries can make progress on their trade dispute. Investors worry weaker global trade would dent economic growth around the world and corporate profits. The tensions have waxed and waned repeatedly this year, which has helped make the stock market particularly volatile recently.
Another flashpoint for the two countries is the detention of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, in Canada. Meng is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly misleading banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. China has protested her arrest.
WHICH WAY?: Many forces are pushing and pulling the market in different directions, from the trade war to worries about how much higher the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. On Tuesday, media reports said that China agreed to reduce tariffs on U.S. autos.
But President Trump’s televised and repeated threats to shut down the government helped to pull stocks lower in the afternoon, analysts said.
In recent weeks, the driving force behind the market’s moves has been changes in investors’ optimism and pessimism, more so than changes in market fundamentals, such as corporate earnings, said Jon Adams, senior investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management. That can lead to more volatility, not only week to week but also within each day.
“Traditionally, this wouldn’t be enough to move the market this much,” Adams said Tuesday morning about progress in talks between the United States and China, when the S&P 500 was still up more than 1 percent for the day. “But sentiment has been moving markets lately.”
OVERSEAS STOCK MARKET UPDATE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 1.5 percent, and France’s CAC 40 was up 1.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.3 percent.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent, South Korea’s Kospi fell less than 0.1 percent to 2,052.97 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent.
YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.87 percent from 2.85 percent late Monday, while the two-year yield rose to 2.77 percent from 2.73 percent.
The gap between those two yields has been shrinking this year, which has worried some investors. When the 10-year yield falls below the two-year yield, investors call it an “inverted yield curve” and see it as a precursor to a recession.
COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 65 cents to settle at $51.65 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 0.4 percent to $60.20.
Natural gas fell 14 cents to $4.41 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil was close to flat at $1.85 per gallon and wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.44 per gallon.
Gold slipped $2.20 to $1,247.20 per ounce, silver rose 2 cents to $14.63 per ounce and copper rose 5 cents to $2.77 per pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.40 Japanese yen from 113.21 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1325from $1.1353, and the British pound dipped to $1.2527 from $1.2557.
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