The Week on Wall Street
Stock benchmarks were little changed for much of last week, but a rally occurred Friday after news broke that the U.S. and China could be closing in on the first phase of a new trade pact.
At Friday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 28,000 level. The Dow rose 1.17% for the week, out gaining the S&P 500 (which advanced 0.89%) and the Nasdaq Composite (which added 0.77%). The MSCI EAFE index, representing developed overseas stock markets, fell 0.77%.
Will There Be a Trade Breakthrough?
Friday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told the media that “in all likelihood,” a phase-one trade deal between China and the U.S. would presently happen, stating that the talks were “down to the last details.” Thursday evening, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow expressed similar optimism, noting that negotiations were “coming down to the short strokes.”
That said, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that President Trump is not yet committed to signing a phase-one trade deal. Secretary Ross noted that such an agreement would be “relatively limited in scope.”
Consumers Boost Their Buying
Retail sales advanced 0.3% in October, according to the Department of Commerce. That surpassed the 0.2% gain forecast by economists polled by MarketWatch. Even so, households bought fewer big-ticket items than they did in September.