By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday, building on the prior day’s record closing levels, as positive comments by President Donald Trump on trade talks and gains for Disney and Best Buy overshadowed some softer-than-anticipated economic data.
Trump said the United States and China were close to an agreement on the first phase of a deal, while stressing Washington’s support for protesters in Hong Kong, a point of contention between the world’s two largest economies.
“Some of the trade proxies just keep heading up so that does mean there is more optimism for China trade,” said Ben Phillips, chief investment officer at Eventshares in Newport Beach, California.
“It is probably the right base case,” he added. “If something gets done, there might be a little sell-the-news event after that I expect.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 35.17 points, or 0.13%, to 28,101.64, the S&P 500 () gained 4.47 points, or 0.14%, to 3,138.11, and the Nasdaq Composite () added 19.26 points, or 0.22%, to 8,651.75.
Walt Disney Co (N:) gained 2.04% after a report that its streaming service was averaging nearly 1 million new subscribers a day. The stock helped keep the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the plus side, providing about 20 points to the upside.
Rising hopes for a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies, solid U.S. economic indicators and a third-quarter corporate earnings season that has largely topped lowered expectations have pushed stocks higher. The three major indexes notched their fourth record close in seven sessions on Monday.
Also supporting stocks has been the dovish turn by the Federal Reserve, which has cut interest rates three times this year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday that monetary policy was “well positioned” to support the strong labor market.
Investors are watching for signs on the health of the consumer for the holiday shopping season. Consumer confidence fell for a fourth straight month in November but remained at levels sufficient to support a steady pace of consumer spending, according to data on Tuesday. A separate report showed that new home sales unexpectedly dropped in October, although data for the prior month was revised up, with purchases hitting their highest level in over 12 years.
Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The consumer discretionary sector () rose 0.71% and provided the biggest boost, led by an 11.42% jump in shares of Best Buy Co Inc (N:) following a strong holiday-quarter profit forecast.
In contrast, Dollar Tree Inc (O:) tumbled 16.50% after it projected holiday-quarter profit below estimates, signaling the fallout from the trade dispute.
Best Buy was the best performer on the S&P 500, while Dollar Tree was the biggest drag on both the S&P and the Nasdaq.
Among other stocks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (N:) fell 8.74% as the enterprise software maker missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 31 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 108 new highs and 55 new lows.