Wall Street hovers near all-time high as trade deal, earnings awaited

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes traded just below all-time highs on Monday as investors awaited the signing of a preliminary trade deal between the United States and China, as well as the start of the fourth-quarter earnings season.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

High-profile technology and internet companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), which have recently powered Wall Street to all-time highs, boosted the main indexes.

Google-owner Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) was on course to become the fourth publicly traded U.S. company to be valued at $1 trillion.

An easing of Middle East tensions and signs that the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement will be signed have encouraged buying of risky assets, even though investors know little in the way of details of an agreement expected to be signed in Washington on Wednesday.

“There is some concern about translation of the contract (with China),” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“The difficulty is we are not going to know anything until Wednesday, but speculation is not enough for markets to go down.”

The other major centerpiece this week will be earnings from the big banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), as they kick off the fourth-quarter reporting season from Tuesday.

Analysts expect profits at S&P 500 companies to drop 0.6% for a second straight quarterly decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

At 09:59 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 61.69 points, or 0.21%, at 28,885.46, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 10.44 points, or 0.32%, at 3,275.79 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 43.67 points, or 0.48%, at 9,222.53.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) rose 4.8% after a report said China would not make significant cuts to subsidies for new energy vehicles (NEV) this year. Brokerage Oppenheimer also raised its price target on the automaker.

Shares of Hexcel Corp (HXL.N) and Woodward Inc (WWD.O) rose 9.5% and 4.8%, respectively, after the two Boeing suppliers said they would combine in an all-stock merger valued at $6.43 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.56-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.30-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 34 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 81 new highs and 16 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Maju Samuel and Shounak Dasgupta

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