Wall Street’s major indexes ended the day on Wednesday on a positive note Trump secured concessions from the European Union on trade. The benchmark S&P 500 index rose more than half a percent in the last half-hour of trading on news of the concessions and closed at its highest level since Jan. 29.
Trump said that the United States and the European Union had agreed to work toward eliminating tariffs on industrial goods and increasing U.S. exports of liquified natural gas and soybeans to Europe.
The S&P and the Nasdaq moved higher early in the trading session as a result of gains in the technology sector. Facebook and Microsoft hit record highs earlier in Wednesday’s session. Facebook shares was up 1.3 percent, and Microsoft shares ended the session up 2.9 percent.
However, in after-hours trading Facebook sank as much as 9 percent after data on its monthly active users came in below estimates.
The sanguine news regarding trade helped the Dow reverse earlier losses in Wednesday’s session. It had been weighed on by Boeing’s report of higher costs for its aerial refueling tanker program. Boeing shares ended the trading day down 0.7 percent .
Strong corporate earnings have helped raise share prices despite ongoing concerns about tariffs increasing costs and cutting into corporate profits.
Of the 148 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 85.8 percent have exceeded Street expectations. If that holds it will be the highest on record, dating back to the first quarter of 1994, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Nasdaq futures, however, pared gains after the market close following Facebook’s results.
Coca-Cola rose 1.8 percent after the beverage company’s quarterly sales and profit exceeded estimates. Shares of HCA Healthcare rose 9.2 percent after the hospital operator raised its full-year earnings forecast.
General Motors fell 4.6 percent after the company reduced its 2018 earnings forecast, citing rising steel and aluminum costs due to tariffs. After the bell, Ford also lowered its earnings forecast, and its shares fell more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Shares of AT&T were down 4.5 percent, weighing the most on the S&P, after the wireless carrier’s quarterly revenue missed estimates.
Approximately 6.61 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.09 billion average for the full session over the past 20 trading days.
New Home Sales Fall
Sales of new homes fell in June to their slowest pace in eight months, while the median selling price declined to its lowest point in more than a year, adding to signs the housing market is cooling.
Single-family home sales were down 5.3 percent month over month to an annual rate of 631,000 homes. The median sales price decreased 4.2 percent year over year to $302,100. The supply of homes at the current sales rate rose to 5.7 months, the longest since August, from 5.3 months
Shares of homebuilders including Toll Brothers, Lennar and KB Home fell after the report, with the S&P Homebuilders index hitting its lowest point this month. Demand weakened in three of four regions, including a 7.7 percent drop in the South. The decline in sales left 301,000 homes available nationwide in June, the most since March 2009.
The decrease in the median price reflected a bigger share of homes sold in the $200,000 to $300,000 range and a smaller share above that level. That suggests demand remains steady at lower price points amid a strong job market and elevated confidence, while buyers may be reluctant to commit to more expensive properties.
One encouraging sign for the economy was that the number of properties sold, in which construction had not yet started, rose to a four-month high, an indication that home builders will likely be busy in coming months. A rising pipeline indicates residential construction will continue to boost growth.
New-home sales, tabulated when contracts get signed, account for about 10 percent of the market. They’re considered a timelier barometer than purchases of previously owned homes, which are calculated when contracts close and are reported by the National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales fell in June for the third straight month, according to data earlier this week.
Purchases of new homes fell to a 361,000 pace in the South, dropped 13.4 percent in the Midwest to 71,000 and 5.2 percent in the West to an almost one-year low of 147,000
Commerce Department indicated that there was 90 percent confidence level that the change in sales last month ranged from a 22.4 percent drop to an 11.8 percent increase, underscoring the volatility of the data