U.S. stocks traded higher Tuesday, while the dollar extended recent gains and Treasury yields nudged higher, as investors braced for key data releases that could offer clarity on the strength of the American consumer heading into the holiday period.
Global stocks were also given a boost by a longer-than-expected virtual summit between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping, which lasted three-and-a-half hours and touched on topics ranging from business competitiveness to Taiwan independence.
- 11:30 AM Eastern Time: Home Depot Overtakes Walmart in Market Cap
Tuesday's early momentum, however, will likely take its cue from third quarter earnings reports from Home Depot and Walmart, as well as the Commerce Department's retail sales data release, which showed the third consecutive monthly increase powered by appliances, cars and home improvement spending.
Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report, in fact, topped Street forecasts with bottom line of $3.92 per share, up 23.2% from the same period last year, on sales of $36.8 billion. Shares were marked 6.2% higher, taking its market cap to $415 billion, just ahead of Walmart's $400 billion tally.
Walmart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, meanwhile, saw sales top $140 billion, with comparable U.S. store sales rising nearly 10%, as customers shrugged-off inflation concerns to boost the adjusted bottom line of the world's biggest retailer.
The stock was marked 2.8% lower, however, as investors reacted to disappointing profit margin figures linked to rising labor and supply chain costs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was marked 190 points higher in the opening hour of trading, while the S&P 500 gained 24 points.
The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite gained 90 points, which gains capped by an upside move in benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields, which traded at 1.615% following the retail sales data release.
Markets are also focused on what is now described as an "imminent" decision from President Joe Biden on the next Fed chair, with reports suggesting he is wavering between re-appointing Republican-nominated Jerome Powell, who has steered the economy through the worst of the COVID crisis, or naming Lael Brainard as only the second woman to lead the Fed in its 108-year history.
Lucid Group (LCID) - Get Lucid Motors Report shares jumped 4.9% after the upstart electric carmaker posted a smaller-than-expected third quarter loss in its first release as a public company.
Lucid also noted that Saudi Arabia's sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the group's majority shareholder, with a stake of around 1.02 billion shares.
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report, meanwhile, gained 2.2%, snapping a three-session losing streak, following Securities and Exchange Commission filings showing that founder and CEO Elon Musk has sold another $930 million in shares of the electric carmaker.
In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 rose 0.37% by mid-day trading in Frankfurt, even amid concerns for a fourth wave of COVID infections that have triggered fresh restrictions in the Netherlands and Austria, and have cancelled traditional Christmas market gatherings in Germany.
In Asia, the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 0.3% higher on the session amid improved sentiment linked to the Biden/Xi talks, while in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.11% higher at 29,808.12 points.