U.S. stocks eked out gains Friday to close at records, as investors weighed a limited trade agreement between Washington and Beijing.
Stocks initially jumped on the news that the world’s two largest economies had reached a “Phase 1” deal that eliminated new tariffs on Chinese goods that had been scheduled to start this weekend.
But the market gave up early gains to end Friday’s trading session little changed as investors parsed details of the accord. Technology stocks, which have been caught in the crosshairs of the trade battle, bounced higher on signs of easing tensions between the countries. But shares declined in other trade-sensitive corners of the market, including material and industrial stocks.
One reason for the muted reaction among investors Friday, according to analysts, was that parts of the deal fell short of investors’ hopes.
“Investors were likely looking for a larger rollback of the tariffs in place, but the important takeaway here is that things are continuing to de-escalate,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, said in a note.
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average ticked up 3 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 28,135.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose less than 0.1% to end at 3,168.80, a new record. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.2% to finish at 8,734.88, also a new all-time high.
For the week, the blue-chip average gained 0.4%, and the broad S&P 500 and technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.7% and 0.9%, respectively.
Optimism over a trade deal in recent months has helped boost investor appetite for risky assets, propelling all three major indexes to records. Although Wall Street welcomed Friday’s developments, some analysts said stocks didn’t rally further because expectations for a trade deal had already been baked into expectations.
President Donald Trump and China said Friday that they agreed to a “limited” Phase 1 trade deal, including the cancellation of the new tariffs. U.S. and Chinese officials provided few details on other aspects of the agreement.
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The S&P 500’s technology sector, meanwhile, climbed 0.6%. The group has been vulnerable to a trade war because China is a strong driver for the chip-equipment sector.
Friday’s agreement would cancel a 15% tariff on $156 billion in consumer products from China that was set to take effect Sunday. Those duties would have had a more direct effect on shoppers than prior levies, hitting products such as laptops, cellphones, video game consoles and Christmas decorations.
“This is a massive relief for tech investors,” said Daniel Ives, analyst at Wedbush. “If the tariffs would have moved forward on Sunday, it could have resulted in a more than 10% drop over the coming months for some chip stocks, because of how the trade worries would impact their earnings.”
Shares of iPhone maker Apple rose 1.4%. Meanwhile, chip makers Intel and Micron Technology rose 0.4% and 0.5%, respectively.
Aerospace giant Boeing and machinery company Caterpillar fell 1.4% and 0.9% apiece.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.82% from 1.90% late Thursday.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 1.1% after the U.K.’s Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a big majority in Thursday’s general election. That paves the way for the U.K. to move forward with its split with the European Union. The British pound jumped 1.3% against the U.S. dollar.