Stocks rise as US, Mexico announce preliminary trade deal
Stocks posted solid gains on Monday after the White House said it reached a preliminary agreement with Mexico on replacing NAFTA. The Nasdaq Composite topped 8,000 for the first time.
The trade deal is far from final and few details were made public during trading hours Monday, but investors were encouraged that the countries are working toward a resolution.
The United States still needs to reach an understanding with Canada, the third party in the accord and the second-largest US trading partner. Canada’s NAFTA negotiator, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, is scheduled to fly to Washington Tuesday to try to restart talks.
Automakers, which would stand to benefit from warmer trade relations between the United States and Mexico, rose sharply. Major exporters including chemical and industrial companies rose, as did banks and technology companies.
‘‘Most of this year has been a series of potentially negative events on trade, setting up barriers to trade,’’ said Craig Birk, chief investment officer for Personal Capital. ‘‘The market is welcoming anything that’s the opposite.’’
Birk said investors were glad to get some good news on trade even though talks on a NAFTA replacement will likely continue beyond the congressional elections this fall and into 2019.
The S&P 500 index climbed 0.8 percent, to 2,896.74. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1 percent, to 26,049.64. The Nasdaq gained 0.9 percent, to 8,017.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 0.2 percent, to 1,728.41.
Among automakers, GM gained 4.8 percent and Ford rose 3.2 percent.
Construction equipment maker Caterpillar rose 2.8 percent and chemicals maker DowDuPont gained 2.3 percent.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, climbed 1.6 percent. Amazon rose 1.2 percent.
Rising trade tensions are one reason the dollar has been climbing this year, and word that a revision of the NAFTA deal could be coming sent the dollar lower on Monday. The US currency fell to 1.2965 Canadian dollars from 1.3029 late Friday and to 18.7338 Mexican pesos from 18.9249. The dollar also fell to 111.10 yen from 111.20 yen. The euro rose to $1.1680 from $1.1625.
The benchmark S&P 500 has risen for seven of the last eight weeks following strong corporate earnings and growing optimism on trade. The S&P 500 is up 6.6 percent since the end of June, and, like the Nasdaq and Russell, it’s trading at all-time highs.
Tesla fell 1.1 percent after CEO and top shareholder Elon Musk said the electric car maker will remain a publicly traded company. Musk wrote in a Friday blog post that he gave up on a plan to take the company private, partly because investors didn’t support it.
Wall Street was stunned early this month when Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, and while its stock jumped initially, investors remained skeptical. Musk said his proposal valued Tesla at $420 a share, and afterward the stock peaked at about $380, close to an all-time high for Tesla but still well below the price he named.
Since then the stock has tumbled as it became clear Musk hadn’t lined up funding for the deal. Now reports say regulators are looking into Musk’s tweets, including whether he described the potential deal accurately.
Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.84 percent from 2.82 percent. The increase in interest rates helped financial companies, and Goldman Sachs rose 3.2 percent.
Utilities and other high-dividend companies fell. Investors consider those big dividend payers an alternative to bonds, so they often sell them when yields start to rise.
Benchmark US crude edged up 0.2 percent to $68.87 a barrel in the New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 0.5 percent to $76.21 in London.