THURSDAY – Stocks were little changed at Thursday’s open as stronger-than-expected economic data were offset by talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un falling through.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell just 11 points while the S&P 500 dipped around 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2 percent.
The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the economy to grow at a pace of 2.2 percent.
Investors were closely watching the summit in Vietnam as it could potentially impact trade negotiations between China and the U.S.
On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified in front of House members that China needed to do more than just buy more U.S. goods for the two countries to strike a permanent trade deal. But Lighthizer said after the testimony, according to The Wall Street Journal, that formal steps would be taken to abandon plans of raising tariffs on Chinese goods.
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Stocks started lower on Tuesday as investors digested the release of weaker-than-expected Home Depot earnings, mixed economic data and testimony from the top-ranked Federal Reserve official.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded just above even after falling more than 100 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 climbed 0.1 percent while the Nasdaq Composite was also up slightly.
Strong consumer confidence numbers helped stocks rebound. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped to 131.4 in February, easily topping an estimate of 124. In January, consumer confidence was at 121.7.
Investors also digested testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday. In prepared remarks, Powell said the economy is “healthy” but that the Fed is also seeing “crosscurrents and conflicting signals.” It comes after the U.S. central bank adopted a more cautious stance on future interest rate hikes last month.
Stocks have been on a tear recently, with the Dow and Nasdaq rising a nine-week winning streak. The S&P 500 has risen for eight of the past nine weeks. Diminishing concerns over U.S.-China trade and tighter monetary policy have contributed to the sharp stock gains.