United States stocks trade higher amid economic data

Wall Street stocks pushed to fresh records Thursday, shrugging off a historic USA impeachment vote and focusing on heightened hopes for easing trade tensions with China.

Stocks have repeatedly hit records in recent sessions amid a mellowing of US-China trade tensions, and agreement on a revised trade pact with Mexico and Canada, in a rally that also has been supported by accommodative monetary policy.

Mnuchin's comments bolstered the optimism that has carried USA stocks higher since a trade agreement was announced last week. "You have not a lot of reasons to sell; maybe a few reasons to buy. So, it's just a very slow, low volume drift upward", he said. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also touched new highs.

The Dow opened 82.63 points higher on Friday after the Street's main boards once again saw a record high close for all three indices.

The February gold contract fell US$3.50 to US$1,480.90 an ounce and the March copper contract retreated about two cents to roughly US$2.81 a pound.

The U.S. and China agreed last week to cut tariffs on some of each other's goods and postpone other tariff threats.

"This is a boost to Mr. Trump, who considers it to be his signature trade deal, and reduces one source of uncertainty for firms, but it is dominated by the ongoing uncertainty over US-China trade talks", wrote analysts at UniCredit, in a Friday research note.

In other USA economic data, Americans increased spending in November at the fastest rate in four months, suggesting households still have plenty of buying power to keep the economy growing at a steady pace through the holiday shopping season. That is making up for hesitance by businesses to spend and it is helping to keep the U.S. economy growing at a moderate pace.

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Revised data from the Department of Commerce showed that America's gross domestic product expanded at an annualised pace of 2.1% over the three months ending in September to reach $19.121trn. The increase in spending came as incomes rose 0.5 percent from a month earlier.

"The underlying strength of the markets continues to fortify [signals] that the year end rally is in good shape but could soon begin to digest its gains". In 2018, the S&P 500 rose 4.1 percent in that time period. Cigna Corp climbed 3 percent and Union Pacific Corp added 1.7 percent.

General Mills added 1.9% after it reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Benchmark crude oil fell 1 cent to settle at $60.93 a barrel, snapping a five-day winning streak. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, fell 46 cents to $66.08 per barrel.

Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.71 per gallon.

The dollar declined slightly to 109.31 Japanese yen and the euro moved lower to $1.1100. Natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.33 per 1,000 cubic feet. The euro weakened to $1.1115 from $1.1147.

US stocks made their way to record highs again on Thursday due to ongoing strength from the U.S.

  • Darren Santiago