U.S. equities finished mostly higher and near the flatline in another lackluster trading session after gaining some early momentum on reports that the U.S. may delay a decision on auto tariffs on Europe and continued optimism of a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal. However, a speech and subsequent Q&A session from President Donald Trump at the Economic Club of New York, that some hoped would be a positive address on trade progress, fell short of those expectations. As well, investors may have exuded some caution ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s two-day monetary policy testimony that begins tomorrow. In some tailing earnings news, D.R. Horton posted upbeat quarterly results, but CBS missed revenue forecasts and Advance Auto Parts lowered its sales outlook. Treasury yields were modestly lower after yesterday’s holiday break, and as small business optimism improved slightly more than expected. Gold prices finished positive and the U.S. dollar was higher, while crude oil prices were little changed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was unchanged at 27,691, the S&P 500 Index increased 5 points (0.2%) to 3,092 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 22 points (0.3%) to 8,486. In moderate volume, 790 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.9 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil ticked $0.06 lower to $56.80 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.61 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $2.69 higher at $1,458.55 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—increased 0.1% to 98.34.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index for October rose to 102.4 from September’s unrevised 101.8 level, and compared to the Bloomberg expectation of an increase to 102.0. NFIB President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Juanita Duggan noted, “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.”

Treasuries were modestly higher following yesterday’s holiday break and a recent drop, as the yield on the 2-year note dipped 2 basis points (bps) to 1.65%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond were 3 bps lower at 1.92% and 2.39%, respectively.

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