S&P 500 posts highest close since Feb. 1; futures fall late

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 rose on Tuesday to post its highest closing level since Feb. 1, the day before the market began a sharp extended selloff, as strong results from PepsiCo boosted optimism about the earnings season.

The consumer staples index (.SPLRCS) climbed 1.3 percent and provided the biggest lift to the S&P 500, driven by PepsiCo (PEP.O), which gained 4.8 percent, while Procter & Gamble (PG.N) rose 2.5 percent and Coca-Cola (KO.N) was up 1.3 percent.

The S&P 500 has risen about 3 percent in the last four sessions, with upbeat news on the economy as well as earnings helping to offset worries about escalating trade tensions between the United States and China. The two countries slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion of each other’s goods on Friday.

Concerns over trade resurfaced after Tuesday’s close, with S&P futures falling late following a Bloomberg report, citing sources, that President Donald Trump is preparing to release a list of an additional $200 billion in Chinese products to be hit with tariffs.

“It’s not an inconsequential move,” said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco, of the decline in futures. “This trade war escalating is not good news, and the market won’t see it as good news.”

The S&P 500 e-mini futures (EScv1) ended the session down 0.1 percent and were off 0.5 percent as trading resumed for the overnight session.

During the regular session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 143.07 points, or 0.58 percent, to end at 24,919.66, while the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 3.00 points, or 0.04 percent, to 7,759.20. The S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 9.67 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,793.84.

The benchmark index is now up 4.5 percent since the end of 2017. Worries over rising bond yields and potentially firming inflation drove the early February selloff, which confirmed a correction for the market.

Earnings are expected to become key for investors in the coming weeks as the U.S. reporting period kicks into high gear.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Wells Fargo (WFC.N) and Citigroup (C.N) are scheduled to report results on Friday. Their shares dipped on Tuesday after leading market gains on Monday.

PepsiCo’s shares surged after the company’s quarterly results topped estimates on strong sales of snacks. The company also reaffirmed its full-year forecast amid signs of a gradual recovery in its soda business.

Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to post second-quarter profit growth of around 21 percent, slightly higher than what was forecast in April, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors are still, however, expected to parse quarterly reports to gauge the impact of the U.S.-China trade dispute on company earnings.

Also boosting the S&P on Tuesday, utilities and telecom indexes rose about 1 percent each, bouncing back from Monday’s losses.

Higher oil prices lifted energy shares. The S&P energy index (.SPNY) rose 0.7 percent as crude oil prices (LCOc1) (CLc1) gained on growing supply disruptions in Norway and Libya, but gains were pared after the United States said it would consider requests for waivers from Iranian oil sanctions.

Shares of Exxon (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) were up around 1 percent each.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.06-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.53-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 30 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 104 new highs and 26 new lows.

Trading volume was among the lowest of the year, with about 5.8 billion shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 7.0 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Additional reporting by April Joyner in New York and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)

From: Yahoo News

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