Wall Street turns up as US manufacturing index rises in June

Wall Street turned up in the final hour of trading as the Mexican election brought a new element into trade tensions and manufacturing data showed the economy was still humming.

By contrast, stocks fell in Europe and Asia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35.77 points, or 0.15%, to 24,307.18 after earlier declining as much as 194 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to 2726.71 as the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8% to 7567.69. 

Technology stocks, which have powered the market in 2018, led the charge again with Facebook, Apple and Google parent Alphabet climbing more than 1%. Trading volumes, meanwhile, were relatively light in a July 4 holiday-shortened week.

PNC Investments president and chief executive Rich Guerrini says investors aren’t willing to hold stocks overnight, noting the market has had strong days only to lose gains later.

“The market is trading on news, and I think that the unknown is probably the bigger driver,” he says.

Seven of the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session higher. Shares of energy firms in the index declined 1.6% as oil prices slumped.

Shares of biopharmaceutical firm MiMedx Group plunged 39% after two of the company’s top executives resigned after the firm had to restate years of financial results.

Oil prices ease
US oil prices edged lower from a two-year high on fears major oil producers could increase production more than previously expected.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery eased 0.3% to $US73.94 a barrel and Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 2.4% to $US77.30 a barrel.

President Donald Trump jolted the oil market on Saturday when he asked Saudi Arabia to significantly boost its production by about two million barrels a day to offset falling production from Venezuela and an expected decline in supply from Iran.

US government bond prices fell after strong manufacturing data signalled the economy still has momentum for further growth.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose for the fourth time in the past five trading sessions, climbing to 2.867% from 2.847% on Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 60.2 in June from 58.7 in May.

Nafta deal hopes rise
In Mexico, voters swung sharply to the left in the presidential election, electing the populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador on an anti-establishment ticket. He beat candidates from Mexico’s two long-established parties.

But in a surprising twist, trade and business observers say Mr López Obrador could reach a deal with President Donald Trump over the Nafta renegotiations.

A big sticking point is wage rates in the auto industry, with the US demanding that cars that don’t have at least 40% of their content produced with labour at or above the $US16 an hour wage floor would be ineligible for duty-free trade.

Wages rates in Mexico are half that figure and Mr López Obrador favours higher wages for all workers.

President Trump said he wanted to wait until after the Mexico elections to continue with the Nafta talks and threatened to impose tariffs on all vehicles made in Mexico and Canada if a deal wasn’t reached.

“If they’re not fine, I’m going to tax their cars coming into America,” Mr Trump told Fox News at the weekend.

Mexico will have a long lame-duck transition period, as the president-elect won’t take office until December 1.

Eurozone manufacturing falls
The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.8% while markets in Japan and South Korea posted their biggest losses in three months.

Manufacturing activity in the eurozone slowed in June by slightly more than previously reported.

France's CAC 40 lost 0.9%, Germany's DAX shed 0.55% and the UK's FTSE 100 plunged 1.2%.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 2.3%, led lower by energy, materials and industrial companies.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 2.2% amid weakness in consumer stocks. Both notched their biggest daily losses since March.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.5% to its lowest close since early 2016. Investors have been concerned Beijing’s tough stance on deleveraging hasn’t changed, pressuring the stock market.

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