Markets closed sharply higher on Tuesday after a measure of consumer confidence hit nearly 18-year high. Also, positive developments in trade disputes helped lift investors' confidence. This saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing at record highs for a third consecutive session. However, investors struggled to decide whether to take profits following a rally or ride on ride the market's momentum.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) advanced 0.06%, to close at 26,064.02. The S&P 500 gained 0.03% to close at 2,897.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 8,030.04, increasing 0.2%. A total of 5.58 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 6.18 billion shares. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.13-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.02-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.
How did the Benchmark Perform?
The S&P 500 edged up marginally gaining 0.78 points. However, it registered a record close and also briefly crossing 2,900 for the first time. Tech stocks led the rally, while energy stocks declined. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) increased 0.2%, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) declined 0.4%. Shares of Netflix, Inc NFLX gained 1.1%. Shares of Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN gained 0.3%. Amazon has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
The Dow gained 14.38 points, 2.1% away from its record. The tech heavy Nasdaq gained 12.14 points, to close at a record high. Shares of Apple AAPL increased 0.8%.
Consumer Confidence Hits Record High
The Conference Board reported Tuesday that consumer-confidence index reached a near 18-year high. The consumer-confidence index rose to 133.4 in August, up from a reading of 127.9 in July. This is the highest reading since Oct 2000, when the index touched 135.8. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity. Thus, the consumer-confidence index is an important indicator of their ability to get a job and how freely they will spend on big items.
The record reading in August shows the strength in the country's economy. Also the Consumer Board reported that the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to get better over the next six months also increased from 22.9% to 24.3%. This definitely helped boost the confidence of investors, resulting in a rally in stocks.
Trade Disputes Ease
Positive sentiments ruled markets on Tuesday following an agreement between the United States and Mexico to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On Tuesday positive sentiments prevailed with Canada joining the talks. A top Canadian trade negotiator joined United States and Mexican counterparts in Washington to be part of the trilateral pact.
On Monday, the United States and Mexico came to a new pact, which according to President Donald Trump would be named The United States-Mexico Trade Agreement and would last for 16 years, and would be placed under review every six years. United States' trade disputes with other major economies have been taking a toll on markets for quite some time. The new pact with Mexico boosted investors' sentiments on Monday. The momentum continued on Tuesday with Canada joining the talks, leading to a rally in stocks.
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