Dow, S&P 500 Close at Record Highs as U.S. and China Sign Phase One Trade Pact

The Dow and the S&P 500 finish at record highs Wednesday as the U.S.-China formally sign a phase one trade agreement.
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  1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 closed at record highs as the U.S. and China formally signed a phase one trade agreement. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq set all-time intraday highs.
  2. Target is Real Money's Stock of the Day. The retailer said sales of toys, electronics and home furnishings over the critical holiday shopping season weren’t as strong as expected, and warned that overall growth for its fiscal fourth quarter likely will be lower than predicted.
  3. Bank of America beat earnings estimates as loan growth offset narrowing interest rate margins at the consumer-focused lender.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 finished at record highs Wednesday after the United States and China, the world's two largest economies, signed a phase one trade agreement.

The Dow finished up 90.55 points, or 0.31%, to 29,030.22, closing above 29,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 rose 0.19% to 3,289.29, while the Nasdaq was higher by 0.08% to 9,258.70. The three indexes set all-time intraday highs in trading Wednesday.

UnitedHealth (UNH) - Get Report led the Dow's advance after posting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and reiterating its full-year profit forecast as Optum sales once again paced growth for the country's biggest managed care company.

At a signing ceremony Wednesday at the White House, President Donald Trump said negotiations with Beijing were "tough" and "honest" and the president called the pact a "landmark agreement." 

Trump said the U.S. and China were “righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families.” He said the agreement had “total and full enforceability.”

The agreement includes increased U.S. agricultural exports and reforms to China’s policies on intellectual property, technology transfer, and financial services, according to a U.S. Trade Representative document.

China also has agreed to spend $200 billion over the next two years on U.S. food, agriculture and seafood products and other services.

Bank of America (BAC) - Get Report earned 74 cents a share in the fourth quarter, beating analysts' estimates by 6 cents, as loan growth offset narrowing interest rate margins at the consumer-focused lender.

Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report posted weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings under its new reporting format, thanks in part to a litigation charge that clouded solid revenue.

Target (TGT) - Get Report said sales of toys, electronics and home furnishings over the critical holiday shopping season weren’t as strong as expected, and warned that overall growth for its fiscal fourth quarter likely will be lower than predicted.

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