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Stocks - S&P Rises on Brexit Deal, Syria Ceasefire

Published 10/17/2019, 03:53 PM
Updated 10/17/2019, 04:51 PM
© Reuters.
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Investing.com - The S&P 500 index nearly closed above 3,000 Thursday for the first time in four weeks on news that a possible deal for the U.K. to exit the EU has been negotiated and a Turkish agreement for a five-day ceasefire in Syria.

The S&P 500 moved up 0.28%, finishing at just under 2,998 and about one percentage point below its all-time high reached in July. It reached as high as 3,008 during the day.

The Dow Jones industrials finished up 0.09%, with the Nasdaq Composite up 0.4%. The Russell 2000 index was up 1.1%.

The Brexit deal negotiated by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resolved many issues about about the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, but it's not clear if Johnson will have the votes to approve the deal in parliament Saturday.

Stocks got a lift after Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a five-day ceasefire in his attacks on Kurdish strongholds in northern Syria. The agreement came after four hours of negotiations with Vice President Mike Pence.

The rally was also boosted by a third-quarter earnings season that continues to be decent. Healthcare, real estate, communications services and industrial stocks led the market higher. Gains for such stocks as Honeywell International (NYSE:HON), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), United Rentals (NYSE:URI) and Humana (NYSE:HUM) offset slumps in IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Boeing (NYSE:BA).

IBM's third-quarter results late Wednesday disappointed investors and Big Blue's shares dropped 5.5%, trimming its gain for the year to 18.1%.

Boeing fell 0.9% in part because Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) said it doesn't expect to have Boeing 737 Max airliners in its schedule until Feb. 8. Air Canada (TSX:AC) said it doesn't see flying the plane again until Feb. 14. The 737 Max has been grounded since two crashes in 2018 and early 2019 killed 346 people.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), meanwhile, rose 2.4% after its third-quarter report suggested the company is confident it can weather new streaming video from a host of competitors.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), up 0.4%, overtook Microsoft as the world's most valuable company with a market capitalization of $1.063 trillion. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), down 0.6%, saw its market cap drop to $1.058 trillion.

The rally lost some steam in the last hour of trading when The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, was delaying the launch of its long-expected initial public offering again until December or January. That kept the indexes in check.

All three indexes are still looking at sizable gains for the year. The problem is that the market's been stalled since this summer.

The S&P ended the day 1% below its July peak. The Dow is off 1.36% from its mid-summer peak. The Nasdaq is off 2,2% from its peak.

Oil futures had risen before the Saudi Aramco news, but were falling in after-hours trading. West Texas Intermediate crude settled up 57 cents to $53.93 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, added 49 cents to $59.91.

Gold futures rose $4.30 to $1,498.30 an ounce in New York.

Packaging company Dover (NYSE:DOV), United Rentals (NYSE:URI) and drug distributors Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) and AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) were among the top S&P 500 performers.

Defense contractor Textron (NYSE:TXT), IBM (NYSE:IBM), M&T Bank Corp (NYSE:MTB) and oil-and-gas producer Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) were among the worst S&P 500 performers on the day.

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