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Stock market news: December 18, 2019

The S&P 500 ended narrowly in negative territory Wednesday after rising during each of the past five trading days.

Here’s where markets settled at the end of regular equity trading:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -0.04%, or 1.35 points

  • Dow (^DJI): -0.09%, or 26.76 points

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.05%, or 4.38 points

  • 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): +3.1 bps to 1.92%

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.07% to $1,479.60 per ounce

The broader equity indices mostly shook off another negative profit outlook from FedEx (FDX) late Tuesday, as the delivery giant cited “weak global economic conditions” and a loss of business from Amazon (AMZN) for estimates-missing results.

“At the risk of sounding like a broken record calling for a bottom in FDX earnings, at this point it is truly a challenge for us to think that things get materially worse from here,” Credit Suisse analyst Allison Landry said in a note Wednesday, adding that “favorable outcomes for Brexit and the China trade deal are catalysts for upside” for the globally exposed stock heading into 2020.

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A trader works at his stall on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Results are expected to come in more strongly for chipmaker Micron Technology (MU), which reports earnings results after market close Wednesday on the heels of two analyst upgrades earlier this week. The report comes amid encouraging signs of resurgence for the semiconductor industry as customers work through a supply glut of memory chips from earlier this year. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index (SOXX) held near record highs in early trading Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a string of major tie-ups this year continued with Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-maker PSA Group, with the two announcing a deal to combine in a 50-50 merger to create the world’s fourth-largest automaker by volume. The agreement would create a combined $50 billion company, and convene brands including Fiat, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Maserati.

Impeachment

In Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives deliberations and votes on impeachment took centerstage. The House began debating two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at around 9 a.m. ET, with final votes expected later Wednesday evening.

Counts by the Associated Press and the New York Times show a majority of members favor impeachment in the House, which is controlled by Democrats. In the event that the House votes to impeach, Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The political developments are widely anticipated to be of little consequence for equity investors, however.

“A growing majority of equity investors view impeachment, without conviction, as neutral for stocks,” Lori Calvasina, head of equity strategy for RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note Wednesday.

In a recent survey gauging investors’ views on the impacts of impeachment, RBC found 74% of participants believed a Trump impeachment by the House without a conviction in the Senate would be a neutral event for markets.

“This was up sharply from 57% in June 2019 (the last time we asked this question, when the Mueller investigation was in the spotlight) and 50% in September 2018 (the first time we asked this question),” Calvasina said. “There has also been a sharp drop in those who believe this scenario would be a negative event for stocks and an increase in the camp who believe this will be a positive event for stocks.”

Other analysts shared this sentiment. In a note last week, Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, said that through the previous impeachments proceedings against former presidents, markets tended to ultimately stay in line with fundamentals which, in this case, “remain positive overall,” he said.

And in the University of Michigan’s closely watched consumer sentiment survey earlier this month, “virtually no consumer spontaneously mentioned impeachment in response to any question in early December – just 1%,” the survey’s chief economist Richard Curtin said.

Splitting up has been the predominant trend of the past 10 years.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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