US equities waver along with US-Canada trade talks

CLOSURE::One analyst said Washington’s trade disputes with China and the EU need to be resolved for investors to regain enough confidence to continue driving markets

AP, NEW YORK

Sun, Sep 02, 2018 - Page 14

US stocks on Friday hardly budged as the US and Canada were unable to complete a trade deal, but the two sides intend to continue negotiating next week.

Energy companies slipped along with oil prices and high-dividend stocks. Technology companies and retailers made some modest gains.

Trading was very light ahead of the Labor Day holiday in the US tomorrow.

Investors hoped the two countries would finish the outlines of a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement after the US and Mexico announced a preliminary agreement on Monday.

Right before the markets closed, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said talks would resume on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump has said he is willing to make a deal with just Mexico, excluding Canada, but Wall Street is confident that the final deal would include all three.

Trump will probably submit the outlines of a US-Canada trade deal to US Congress soon, Northern Trust Wealth Management chief investment officer Katie Nixon said.

However, a trade war between the US and China might drag on for months, if not longer, which Nixon said could stop businesses from investing and affect the economy and the stock market.

“These things will have to be resolved one way or another for investors to regain the kind of confidence it’s going to take to propel the markets meaningfully forward,” Nixon said.

The S&P 500 was on Friday down for most of the day, but inched up 0.39 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,901.52, gaining 0.9 percent from 2,874.69 on Aug. 24.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday fell 22.10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,964.82, but rose 0.7 percent from a close of 25,790.35 a week earlier.

The NASDAQ Composite on Friday rose 21.17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,109.54, surging 2.1 percent from 7,945.98 on Friday last week.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks on Friday gained 8.4 points, or 0.5 percent, to a record high of 1,740.75, an increase of 0.9 percent from 1,725.67 on Aug. 24.

The S&P 500 rose 3 percent for the month, while the NASDAQ jumped 5.7 percent.

Ford Motor Co declined 2.3 percent to US$9.48 following reports that the company canceled plans to import a version of the Ford Focus that is made in China, citing the tariffs proposed by the Trump administration.

Otherwise, there were not many developments on trade, and investors responded instead to the few remaining company earnings reports in the current cycle.

Gun and hunting and camping gear maker American Outdoor Brands Corp skyrocketed 43.6 percent to US$14.03.

The company said sales picked up and it cut costs, while offering fewer discounts.

The stock erased big losses from earlier in the year.

Lululemon Athletica Inc jumped 13.1 percent to US$154.93 after it raised its forecasts for the rest of the year following a strong second quarter. Shares in the yoga gear maker have nearly doubled in value this year.

Discount retailer Big Lots Inc sank 10.1 percent to US$43.05 after its earnings and sales fell short of analysts’ projections.

Ulta Beauty Inc kept up with the Kardashians, or at least their half-sister Kylie Jenner. Ulta stock jumped 6.4 percent to US$260 after the company announced a partnership with Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics LLC.

Ulta said the brand would be available in its stores and online later this year.

Coca-Cola Co said it would pay US$5.1 billion for the biggest coffee company in Britain, Costa Ltd, which has 2,400 shops in the UK and about 1,400 in more than 30 other countries.

Coca-Cola already owns the Georgia and Gold Peak coffee brands, which make bottled and canned drinks, but the purchase of Costa might be a step toward competing with Starbucks Corp.

In the past few years, Coca-Cola has also acquired a minority stake in sports drink company BodyArmor SuperDrink.

Coca-Cola fell 0.8 percent to US$44.57.

Additional reporting by staff writer