Stocks finish higher as Dow, S&P 500 post gains for third straight quarter

Stocks finish higher as Dow, S&P 500 post gains for third straight quarter

Monday is the last trading day of September and the third quarter

Stocks finished higher in the final trading session of the month and quarter, after Trump administration officials played down or disputed reports Washington was weighing plans to impede U.S. investments in Chinese companies, soothing a fear that had put equities under pressure at the end of last week.

Market participants, however, also kept an eye on developments surrounding a House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

What are major indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.36%  rose 96.58 points, or 0.4%, to end at 26,916.83, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.50% advanced 14.95 points, or 0.5%, to finish at 2,976.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.75% closed at 7,999.34, a gain of 6.91 points, or 0.1%.

For the month of September, the Dow gained 2%, the S&P advanced 1.7% and the Nasdaq added 0.5%. For the quarter, the Dow and the S&P 500 both rose 1.2%, but the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

What’s driving the market?

Bloomberg News, citing Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley, reported that the Trump administration wasn’t contemplating blocking Chinese companies from “listing shares on U.S. stock exchanges at this time.”

The Treasury officials comments come after Bloomberg reported on Friday that the White House has been discussing ways to curb U.S. portfolio inflows into China, a crackdown that could hit billions worth of investments and escalate the Sino-American trade war.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday told CNBC that the article was highly inaccurate but declined to dispute specific details.

“On Saturday, the Treasury Department stated it’s not considering blocking Chinese companies from listing on U.S. exchanges ‘at this time,’ refuting the Bloomberg story from Friday, which caused the declines in stocks,” wrote Tom Essaye, president of the Sevens Report, in a note to clients. “So, given Treasury’s denial, we’re seeing those declines partially reversed.”

The reports come as Chinese negotiators are set to meet Oct. 10-11 in Washington, with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to lead the delegation from Beijing.

Tensions between the U.S. and China on trade have been rattling global markets for the past year, because the conflict between the world’s largest economies has the potential to hurt economies around the world.

Investors are also watching the fallout from a whistleblower report released on Thursday, which alleged that Trump attempted to coerce Ukraine to produce damaging information on Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, and that White House officials acted to conceal evidence of his actions. The controversy around the report prompted House Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry.

The whistleblower is expected to testify in front of the House “very soon,” though in a way that will protect the person’s identity, according to Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

On Sunday, Trump called for Schiff “to be questioned at the highest level for fraud and treason,” arguing that Schiff misrepresented the contents of the whistleblower complaint during a hearing last week.

On the data front, The Chicago PMI, an index based on a survey of businesses in the Chicago region, fell to 47.1 in September, down from 50.4, below the consensus range of between 47.2 and 52, according to Econoday. An index measuring the health of the Texas manufacturing sector came in at 13.9, down from 17.9 in August.

In company news, WeWork parent, We Co. said Monday that it would withdraw its planned initial public offering for now.

Which stocks are in focus?

Blackstone Group Inc. BX, -2.75%  affiliate Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX said Monday it would buy Colony Industrial, the real-estate assets and industrial operating platform of Colony Capital, for $5.9 billion, including debt.

Shares of Apple Inc. rose after J.P. Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee raised his price target on the stock to $265 from $242, citing strong iPhone sales.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese tech firms Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA, +0.75%  and Baidu Inc. BIDU, +1.53%  were on the rise, following the Treasury Department’s denial that it was considering banning Chinese firms from U.S. exchanges.

Tesla Inc. TSLA, -0.52%  shares came under pressure after a judge ruled late Friday that the electric-car manufacturer engaged in unfair labor practices in discouraging its employees from forming a union.

Shares of Xcel Energy Inc. XEL, -0.72%  fell after the firm announced that regulators denied a subsidiary’s request to purchase Mankato Energy Center.

How are other markets trading?

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.77%  was virtually unchanged at 1.67%.

In commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for November delivery CLX19, +0.87%  fell $1.84 to $54.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold for December delivery GCZ19, -0.16%  fell $33.40 to about $1,465.70 an ounce, falling well below a psychologically significant level at $1,500 an ounce.

In Asia, the China CSI 300 000300, -0.99%  lost 1%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.76%  retreated 0.6% but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.53%  gained 0.5%. European stocks ended modestly higher, as measured by the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.35%.

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