Wall Street moved sharply higher on Wednesday, led by tariff-sensitive technology and industrial stocks after China extended an olive branch ahead of next month’s trade negotiations with the United States. The S&P 500 closed above the 3,000 mark for the first time since July 30.
Apple provided the largest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq the day after it unveiled its latest iPhone upgrade and announced the launch date of its Apple TV+ streaming service. Its shares were up 3.2%, once more lifting the company’s value above the $1 trillion mark.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, led by Boeing, posted its sixth consecutive daily gain. Boeing, the largest U.S. exporter by dollar value, gained 3.6%.
China announced tariff exemptions for a basket of U.S. goods, a move viewed by many investors as a show of good faith just weeks ahead of planned talks aimed at resolving the trade war, which has bruised world economies and rattled markets for months.
Trump called on the Fed to slash interest rates into negative territory, a move typically seen as a last-ditch effort to revive sluggish economies. Nonetheless, the markets still expect the Fed to cut interest rates by 25 basis points at the conclusion of its monetary policy meeting next week.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but real estate sector index closed in the black.
Micron Technology rose 2.2% after Longbow Research upgraded the stock to “buy.”
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index was up 1.5%.
Baker Hughes registered the largest percentage drop in the S&P 500, falling 7.5%, following news that parent General Electric would sell $3 billion in Baker Hughes shares, resulting in a loss of GE’s majority stake.
Approximately 7.59 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.85 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
Producer Price Index Rises Unexpectedly
The Labor Department’s producer price index rose unexpectedly during August as underlying producer prices rebounded. According to the Department, its PPI for final demand edged up 0.1% last month as a jump in the cost of services offset the largest drop in the price of goods in seven months. That followed a 0.2% gain in July. For the 12 months through August the PPI advanced 1.8% after increasing 1.7% in July.
Excluding the volatile food, energy and trade services components, the core PPI rose 0.4% last month after declining 0.1% in July, the first decline since October 2015. The core PPI was up 1.9% in the 12 months through August after increasing 1.7% in July.
The Fed, which has a 2% annual inflation target, tracks the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index for monetary policy. The core PCE price index increased 1.6% on a year-on-year basis in July and has undershot its target this year.
It is unlikely that the latest reading on PPI will change financial market expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again next week to support a slowing economy.
In August, wholesale energy prices fell 2.5% after rebounding 2.3% in the prior month. They were weighed down by a 6.6% drop in gasoline prices, which followed a 5.2% percent increase during July. Goods prices declined 0.5% last month, the most since January, after rising 0.4% in July.
Energy prices accounted for more than 80% of the drop in the cost of goods in August. Wholesale food prices fell 0.6% in August after gaining 0.2% in the prior month. Core goods prices were unchanged last month. They edged up 0.1% in July.
The cost of services increased 0.3% after decreasing 0.1% in July. Services were boosted by a 6.4% surge in the cost of guestroom accommodation, the largest gain since April 2009.
The cost of healthcare services rose 0.2% after edging up 0.1% in July. Those healthcare costs feed into the core PCE price index.