Stock market news: November 12, 2019

Emily McCormick

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq eked out gains at the end of a choppy session of trading Tuesday, as investors digested public remarks from President Donald Trump on the U.S. economy.

Earlier in the session, both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 clinched fresh record intraday highs. The blue-chip index reached as high as 3,102.61, up from its previous all-time high of 3,097.77 from Nov. 7. The Dow ended unchanged, to the hundredth decimal point, for the first time since April 2014.

Here’s where the markets settled at the end of regular trading Tuesday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.16%, or 4.83 points

  • Dow (^DJI): unchanged

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.26%, or 21.81 points

  • WTI crude oil prices: (CL=F): -0.14% to $56.78 per barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +0.14% to $1,459.10 per ounce

Trump spoke in Manhattan at the Economic Club of New York shortly after noon ET. While stocks had held onto gains during much of the speech, they fell in the hours thereafter.

Based on prepared remarks released by the White House Tuesday, Trump was expected to use the podium to tout the relative strength of the U.S. economy.

“Today, I am proud to stand before you as President to report that we have DELIVERED on our promises – and exceeded our expectations,” the remarks said, according to the release. “We have ended the war on American Workers, we have stopped the assault on American Industry, and we have launched an economic BOOM the likes of which we have never seen before!”

As Trump spoke, he also took to the podium with a fresh attack on the Federal Reserve. Trump has continuously called on the central bank to lower interest rates further to help stimulate the U.S. economy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, for his part, has underscored the independence of the Fed from political pressures.

“We are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates,” Trump said. He cited other countries that have lowered rates, with some reaching the point of negative interest rates.

“Give me some of that,” Trump said. “Give me some of that money, I want some of that money. Our Federal Reserve doesn’t let us do it.”

The full speech also provided a forum for Trump to give an update on the progress of U.S.-China trade talks, as the two sides pace toward an interim agreement.

“They are dying to make a deal,” Trump said. “We’re close. A significant phase one trade deal with China could happen. Could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies.”

Trump has repeatedly touted progress for a partial trade agreement with China, but he’s also rebuffed reports that an early agreement would necessarily include a roll-back of the tariffs already in place, based on remarks Trump made over the weekend.. A hardline stance on keeping existing tariffs could jeopardize momentum in trade deal negotiations, with Beijing having repeatedly called for a removal of punitive duties as a contingency for a deal.

An interim trade agreement with China would not likely be finalized until December, as both sides work to come to a consensus on points of the partial agreement and a venue to meet to sign it. A November summit in Chile previously intended to serve as the the site for a meeting between Trump and China’s Xi Jinping was canceled in late October.

Elsewhere, a number of Federal Reserve officials also delivered public remarks Tuesday, including Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari.

Their comments come a day before Fed Chair Powell is set to testify about the economy in a two-day session before Congress starting Wednesday.

Traders pause for a moment of silence in honor of Veterans Day on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Most investors on the Street believe Fed officials will stick to the narrative they put forward in their latest monetary policy statement in October. In this, the rate-setting committee suggested their three consecutive rate cuts this year would not likely continue with a fourth in December, as the committee “assesses the appropriate path of the target range for the federal funds rate.”

In the weeks since the last meeting, officials from the Chicago Fed President Charles Evans to San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, suggested the current strength of the economy would not warrant further monetary policy accommodation.

As of Tuesday morning, markets priced in a 97% probability that the benchmark interest rate would remain at the current range of between 1.5% to 1.75% after the Fed’s December meeting.

STOCKS: Disney+ launches in the U.S., Tyson misses earnings expectations

Disney (DIS) launched its eponymously named streaming platform Disney+ in the U.S. Tuesday, entering the fray in the streaming space previously dominated by players like Netflix (NFLX). Disney’s offering is priced at $6.99 per month, and serves as the home for Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and other Disney-branded content.

The launch of Disney+ comes just days after the media giant posted better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results, albeit with a widening loss in the business segment hosting the streaming service as the company invested in content and technology for the platform.

Tyson Foods (TSN) posted disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter results as chicken and beef sales fell during the quarter, due in part to a fire at one of its cattle processing facilities. Tyson posted adjusted earnings of $1.21 on revenue of $10.88 billion, missing expectations for adjusted EPS of $1.25 on revenue of $11 billion. Despite the challenges during the quarter, Tyson said it is “optimistic” about fiscal 2020 and said it expects to meet or exceed guidance for high single-digit adjusted EPS growth during the year.

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) posted third-quarter results that were roughly in-line with expectations, but cut its full-year guidance for closely watched comparable same-store sales growth. It now expects these will increase between 1% and 1.5% for the year, down from the 1% to 2% previously given as guidance.

Third-quarter adjusted earnings totaled $2.10 per share, or 4 cents better than expected, while third-quarter sales of $2.31 billion were slightly ahead of the $2.30 billion anticipated. Reported quarter comparable same-store sales rose an expected 1.2%. Advance Auto Parts also announced its board had approved an additional $700 million in buybacks.

ECONOMY: Small business optimism rises in October

Small business optimism improved more than consensus economists expected during October, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The headline index rose to 102.4 from the month, ahead of September’s 101.8 and the 102.0 expected.

“A continued focus on a recession by policymakers, talking heads, and the media clearly caused some consternation among small businesses in previous months, but after shifting their focus to other topics, it’s become clear that owners are not experiencing the predicted turmoil,” NFIB CEO Juanita Duggan said in a statement.

“Small business owners are continuing to create jobs, raise wages, and grow their businesses, thanks to tax cuts and deregulation, and nothing is stopping them except for finding qualified workers,” she added.

The report underscored continued tightness in the labor market especially with smaller firms, with 25% of business owners included in the survey citing “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem, or more than those citing taxes or regulations. Mentions of higher worker compensation rose by 1 point to 30% of all firms surveyed, reaching a historically high reading, according to NFIB.

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

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