Technology and consumer discretionary stocks lifted Wall Street on Tuesday, as upbeat results from Estée Lauder and Ralph Lauren fueled earnings optimism, ahead of the highly awaited State of the Union address by Trump.
Leading the gains on the S&P 500 was cosmetics maker Estée Lauder, which rose 11.64 percent, followed by luxury fashion group Ralph Lauren Corp’s 8.39 percent rise, after both their quarterly earnings numbers exceeded expectations.
Alphabet Inc wrapped up FAANG earnings by posting better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit. Alphabet closed out the day up 1.16 percent, while a 1.71 percent rise in Apple raised the technology index, as Amazon’s 1.56 percent gain pushed the consumer discretionary sector higher.
Also helping the market was Boeing’s 3.32 percent gain after the plane manufacturer said it made a significant investment in supersonic business jet developer Aerion.
Following a turbulent end to 2018, the stock market has had a stellar run this year with the benchmark S&P 500 and blue-chip Dow Industrials up about 9 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rising 11 percent.
The rally has been helped by a recent dovish stance from the Federal Reserve, hopes of a trade deal between the United States and China and a largely positive fourth-quarter earnings season.
Approximately 71 percent of the S&P 500 companies, that have reported earnings, have exceeded estimates. While expectations for fourth-quarter earnings growth are 15.8 percent, estimates for the first-quarter are much lower at 0.4 percent, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The CBOE Volatility index fell 0.16 point to finish at 15.57, its lowest close in four months.
Shares of Archer Daniels Midland fell 5.9 percent after the grains trader’s fourth-quarter profit missed expectations because of the U.S.-China trade dispute.
Approximately 6.97 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 7.56 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
Report by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM)
The economy’s services sector activity slowed to a six-month low in January as businesses worried about the impact of a partial shutdown of the federal government on the economy.
Despite showing a second straight monthly moderation in activity, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report on Tuesday continued to suggest solid economic growth.
The ISM said its non-manufacturing activity index dropped 1.3 points to a reading of 56.7 last month. That was the lowest reading since July and marked two straight monthly declines.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of all the nation’s economic activity.
The ISM’s new orders sub-index for the services sector fell 5 points to a reading of 57.7 last month, the lowest since December 2017. Its business activity or production gauge also fell sharply. There was also a steep decline in the survey’s measure of export orders.
The survey’s services employment measure rose to 57.8 from a reading of 56.6 in December.
According to the ISM, respondents were “concerned about the impacts of the government shutdown but remain mostly optimistic about overall business conditions.” Some businesses complained about higher prices because of import tariffs and others said they were struggling with capacity constraints.
Eleven services industries, including transportation and warehousing, healthcare and social assistance, finance and insurance, utilities, and public administration, reported growth in January. That was down from 16 in December and the fewest since August 2016.
Seven non-manufacturing industries including retail trade, educational services and information reported contraction in January. The ebb in sentiment was also mirrored by another survey from data firm Markit, which showed its services sector PMI falling to a four-month low of 54.2 in January from a reading of 54.4 in December.