After being the thorn in the side of the markets yesterday, technology stocks gave U.S. equities the boost it needed today to finish in the green, after the U.S. offered a temporary reprieve of restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Retailers were in focus in putting the finishing touches on Q1 earnings season, with Dow member Home Depot missing same-store sales estimates and Kohl’s lowering its guidance, but AutoZone topped earnings forecasts. Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar were modestly higher, despite a disappointing read on existing home sales, while crude oil prices were mixed and gold was lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased 197 points (0.8%) to 25,877, the S&P 500 Index rose 24 points (0.9%) to 2,864, and the NASDAQ Composite advanced 83 points (1.1%) to 7,786. In moderate volume, 733 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.9 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil inched $0.08 lower to $63.13 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was up $0.01 at $2.02 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price decreased $3.16 to $1,274.66 per ounce, and the Dollar Index— a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—ticked 0.1% higher to 98.05.
Existing-home sales in April were down 0.4% month-over-month (m/m) to an annual rate of 5.19 million units, compared to the Bloomberg expectation of a rise to 5.35 million units from March’s unrevised 5.21 million rate. Sales of single-family homes were lower m/m and year-ago levels, while purchases of condominiums and co-ops rose compared to last month and were down y/y. The median existing-home price rose 3.6% y/y to $267,300. Unsold inventory came in at a 4.2-months pace at the current sales rate, up from 4.0 months a year ago. Sales declined in the Northeast and South m/m, and were little changed in the Midwest and rose in the West. Sales in all regions were lower y/y. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said he is not overly concerned about the dip in sales and expects moderate growth very soon, citing historically low mortgage rates, pent-up demand and improving job creation.
Treasuries were lower, as the yield on the 2-year note rose 3 basis points (bps) to 2.25%, the yield on the 10-year note gained 2 bps to 2.43%, and the 30-year bond rate ticked 1 basis point higher to 2.83%. The markets have been choppy as of late amid escalated trade tensions and some mixed global economic data.
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