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Stock market news: October 28, 2019

The S&P 500 rose to a record high after President Donald Trump touted progress for a near-term partial trade agreement with China. Stronger-than-expected earnings results also helped boost risk assets.

The blue-chip equity index closed at 3,039.42, topping its previous closing high of 3,025.86 from late July. At the highs of the day, the S&P 500 rose to as much as 3,044.08, also surpassing its previous intraday high of 3,027.98.

Here’s where the markets closed Monday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.56%, or 16.87 points

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.49%, or 132.66 points

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +1.01%, or 82.87 points

  • 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): +4.5 bps to 1.846%

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.65% to $1,495.50 per ounce

Trump told reporters Monday he thought negotiators were “looking probably to be ahead of schedule to sign a very big portion of the China deal,” according to multiple news outlets.

This comes after the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday that the U.S. and China were “close to finalizing” some sections of a phase one trade agreement.

Overseas, the British pound rose to as much as 1.286 against the dollar after the European Union (EU) agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until January 31. Previously, the UK was set to depart from the bloc on Thursday, a date Prime Minister Boris Johnson had long pressed to meet.

European Council President Donald Tusk characterized the decision as a “flextension,” with the UK having the option to leave before the new deadline if Parliament can agree on a deal sooner. The extension – which marks the third such official delay for the UK’s departure date – boosts the odds of avoiding a no-deal exit from the bloc.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Later this week, investors are set to receive the latest monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve, with markets pricing in another quarter-point cut to benchmark interest rates with near certainty. The Bank of Japan and Bank of Canada will also post rate decisions this week.

Notable economic data releases include third-quarter GDP Thursday and the October jobs report Friday.

STOCKS: Spotify user growth tops expectations, AT&T announces turnaround plan

Corporate earnings results are also in full swing this week, with results from Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), General Electric (GE), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Lyft (LYFT) and Starbucks (SBUX), among the many names reported.

Monday morning, Spotify (SPOT) turned a surprise profit in the third quarter and added more users than expected, sending shares more than 16% higher on Monday. It also announced its CFO Barry McCarthy will retire on January 15, with Paul Vogel, vice president of FP&A, treasury and investor relations, set to take over the role thereafter.

In the third-quarter, adjusted earnings for the Swedish company came out to 36 euro cents per share, while a loss of 18 euro cents had been expected. Revenue of 1.73 billion euros was 10 million euros ahead of consensus.

The music streamer had 113 million paid users during the quarter, topping expectations for 111.2 million, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. Spotify attributed this to “continued product innovation driving improvements in long-term retention.” During the quarter, Spotify had rolled out new promotions including a subscription bundle partnership with AT&T in the U.S. and a new 90-day free trial on its Standard and Student Plans.

AT&T (T) announced a three-year plan reflecting many of the goals of activist investor Elliott Management, which five weeks ago announced it had taken a $3.2 billion stake in the telecoms giant with hopes of making changes to boost its stock.

AT&T said it would make no more major acquisitions over the next three years, and targets earnings of $4.50 to $4.80 per share by 2022, higher than the $3.39 consensus for that year, according to Bloomberg data. The company also plans to split its CEO and chairman roles and add two new directors. Randall Stephenson, currently both CEO and chairman of the company, is expected to depart after 2020.

The announcements were viewed favorably by investors, with shares rising 1.5% in early trading. These overshadowed a third-quarter miss on revenue and third-quarter subscribers, with AT&T losing about 1.2 million TV subscribers on net during the period.

Restaurant Brands (QSR) met expectations for third-quarter revenue and profit as much stronger-than-expected results at Popeye’s buoyed sales. Same-store sales at this chain surged 9.7%, far exceeding the 4.9% increase expected.

Burger King same-store sales also topped estimates, rising 4.8% versus 3.6% expected. Tim Horton’s lagged, however, with these same-store sales falling 1.4% versus a rise of 0.6% anticipated.

These results followed new product launches at Restaurant Brands’s two best-performing franchises. Burger King rolled out its Impossible Whopper nationwide during the third-quarter, and Popeye’s launched a chicken sandwich that sparked a multi-chain competition over the fast food dish.

HSBC (HSBC), Europe’s biggest lender, posted disappointing quarterly profits as a low interest-rate environment coupled with mounting geopolitical concerns weighed on results for the internationally exposed bank.

The company posted adjusted pre-tax profit of $5.35 billion, declining 12% over last year and missing expectations for $5.7 billion. HSBC noted that pre-tax profit in Asia rose 4% during the quarter and called out “a resilient performance in Hong Kong.” The firm derives nearly 90% of profits from Asia with a significant portion of these coming from Hong Kong, where months-long protests have choked the region’s economy.

“Parts of our business, especially Asia, held up well in a challenging environment in the third quarter. However, in some parts, performance was not acceptable, principally business activities within continental Europe, the non-ring-fenced bank in the UK, and the US,” interim CEO Noel Quinn said in a statement. “Our previous plans are no longer sufficient to improve performance for these businesses, given the softer outlook for revenue growth. We are therefore accelerating plans to remodel them, and move capital into higher growth and return opportunities.”

ECONOMY: U.S. goods trade deficit narrows in September

The U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed more-than-expected in September as both imports and exports fell during the month, the Commerce Department said Monday in its advance report.

The trade gap in goods decreased 3.6% to $70.4 billion, where a widening to a deficit of $73.5 billion had been expected, according to Bloomberg consensus data. This marked the smallest goods deficit since June 2018.

Exports and imports each declined, with the former falling 3% year-over-year and the latter decreasing 4.6%. Exports of foods, feeds and automobiles each fell. For imports, industrial supplies, capital goods, motor vehicles and consumer goods each dropped during the month, with a 5% drop in consumer goods comprising the majority of the headline decline.

“We are assuming that these swings are a response to the imposition of tariffs on many imported Chinese consumer goods on September 1,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics wrote in a note. “Imports will likely mean-revert in October, but the weakness of exports will persist, if the collapse in the ISM export index is any guide.”

Meanwhile, wholesale inventories fell 0.3% in September, where a gain of 0.2% had been expected, the Commerce Department also reported Monday. This was down from August’s unchanged level.

Retail inventories, however, rose 0.3% in September, more than the 0.2% increase expected. This followed a downwardly revised 0.2% decline in August. Retail inventories excluding motor vehicles and parts – the metric which factors into GDP calculations – also rose 0.3% following an unrevised 0.2% decline in August.

“Overall, the data were mixed relative to what we assumed for our Q3 GDP forecast this week, with net exports more positive but inventories more negative,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in an email.

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

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