US open: Stocks turn green despite ongoing trade concerns

updated: 16 May 2019 at 2:59pm Author: Iain Gilbert

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street trading began on a positive note on Thursday after markets reversed their opening misfortunes to finish in the green on Wednesday.
As of 1515 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.75% at 25,841.01, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.90% to 2,876.71 and the Nasdaq Composite traded 0.88% firmer at 7,890.69.

The Dow opened 193 points higher on Thursday as trade tensions remained in focus after the Department of Commerce announced the addition of Huawei Technologies to the Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List, making it more difficult for the Chinese telecommunications giant to conduct business with American firms.

Donald Trump went as far as to declare a national emergency on Wednesday before banning Huawei and ZTE from selling their equipment in the US, claiming they pose "unacceptable risks".

Elsewhere, CNBC reported that Trump planned to postpone auto tariffs on the EU by as much as six months. The White House faces a Saturday deadline to decide whether to slap duties on car and auto part imports over national security concerns.

Oanda's Craig Erlam said: "The experience of a trade war with China hasn't deterred the Trump administration from this hostile and potentially damaging method of improving trade terms between the US and its partners. While we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we're not going to see trade wars on multiple fronts, the battle has merely been postponed."

On the data front, one of the most closely-followed lead indicators of joblessness in the US surprised to the downside on Thursday.

According to the Department of Labor, initial US jobless claims fell by 16,000 over the week ending on 11 May to reach 212,000. Economists had pencilled in a reading of 220,000.

Residential construction activity in the States picked up more quickly than expected last month but remained below year-ago levels and there were signs of continued caution among homebuilders.

According to the Department of Commerce, US housing starts increased by 5.7% month-on-month in April to reach an annualised pace of 1.235m. Economists had penciled-in a clip of 1.218m.

Housing permits meanwhile edged up by 0.6% versus March to reach 1.296m (consensus: 1.295m), with the March print having also been revised higher, from 1.269m to 1.288m.

Elsewhere, manufacturing sector conditions in the US mid-Atlantic region perked up in May, according to the results of a key survey, although some of the details were a bit soft.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's factory sector index rose from a reading of 8.5 for April to 16.6 in May (consensus: 10.0).

In corporate news, Walmart saw first-quarter earnings come in ahead of expectations on the Street but fell short on revenues on Thursday.

The world's largest retailer turned in adjusted earnings per share of $1.13, surpassing analysts' expectations of $1.02. While revenues came in at $123.9bn, compared to estimates of $124.94bn, Walmart's closely followed comparable sales number came in at 3.4%, marking the firm's best first-quarter performance in nine years.

Nvidia, Applied Materials and Pinterest will report after the close.