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Stocks Edge Higher on Earnings; Treasuries Rise: Markets Wrap

Randall Jensen and Reade Pickert
Stocks Edge Higher on Earnings; Treasuries Rise: Markets Wrap

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U.S. stocks rose in thin trading as Walmart Inc.’s stellar earnings boosted consumer shares, while Treasuries advanced as investors assessed the prospects for a trade deal with China.

The S&P 500 gained for the sixth time in seven sessions, pushing to the highest since early December. Walmart’s best holiday quarter in a decade lifted retailers and homebuilders got a boost from a positive sentiment report. The 10-year Treasury yield slid below 2.64 percent as concerns remain that the trade truce will end March 1 without a deal, leading to fresh tariffs.

The dollar fell against major currencies ahead of speeches from Federal Reserve officials this week and the release of meeting minutes Wednesday that should shed more light on the central bank’s turn to a more dovish tone. China’s yuan traded offshore strengthened against the greenback after a Bloomberg News report saying the U.S. is said to press for a stable Chinese currency as part of negotiations.

“There’s a lot going on out there and I think for the most part investors are looking at China and the trade talks,” Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital, said on Bloomberg Television. “We’ve been down this road a couple of times before -- not just this year, but last year as well -- and this March deadline is really approaching quickly. That’s really where companies are focused, as we heard today on Walmart, but also investors.”

With earnings season nearing its end, the latest minutes from both the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank due this week and U.S. President Donald Trump weighing an extension of the deadline for a trade deal with China, investors have plenty to ponder right now. Uncertainty over the outlook for global growth hangs over everything, and traders will be hoping for some good news from the world’s two largest economies when talks resume in Washington on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, the pound advanced as U.K. and European officials work on new legal text for the contentious Irish border backstop. Gold traded at the highest since May amid increasing bullishness and West Texas crude advanced to trade at about its highest in almost three months.

Here are some key events coming up:

The Federal Reserve will on Wednesday publish minutes from its recent meeting, with the European Central Bank following suit on Thursday.Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz speaks on Thursday; ECB President Mario Draghi speaks on Friday, the same day Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe gives parliamentary testimony.An Indonesian rate decision is due Thursday.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.2 percent as of 4 p.m. New York time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.2 percent.The MSCI All-Country World Index rose 0.3 percent.The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.1 percent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3 percent.The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.1347.The Japanese yen declined less than 0.1 percent to 110.55 per dollar.The British pound rose 1.1 percent to $1.3064, the strongest in more than a week.The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index gained 0.3 percent.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell two basis points to 2.64 percent, the lowest in more than a week.Germany’s 10-year yield declined less than one basis point to 0.105 percent, the lowest in more than a week.Britain’s 10-year yield was steady at 1.169 percent.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index climbed 0.4 percent to the highest about two weeks.West Texas crude rose 0.9 percent to $56.09 a barrel.Gold rose 1.6 percent to $1,343.40 an ounce, the highest in nine months.

--With assistance from Anna Edwards, Eddie van der Walt and Sarah Ponczek.

To contact the reporters on this story: Randall Jensen in New York at rjensen18@bloomberg.net;Reade Pickert in New York at epickert@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net;Samuel Potter at spotter33@bloomberg.net

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